Hospitality vacancies soar as Christmas approaches

Vacancies across the hospitality sector have hit a record high as we enter the festive season, according to analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The team behind student work app Stint delved into a decade's worth of vacancy data, using a forecasting model to calculate that job openings this December could be up to 75,000 higher than two years ago, before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the world into lockdown, potentially reaching 163,000 – an all-time high for the industry. 

Hospitality vacancies have been increasing year-on-year, generally peaking in winter. However, the pandemic has exacerbated the issue, leaving short-staffed restaurants unable to capitalise on the busy Christmas period. 



Number of hospitality vacancies in December Percentage increase in December vacancies compared to 2010
2010  43,000  N/A
2015  84,000  95%
2019 (pre-pandemic)  88,000  105%
2021 (forecasted)  163,000  279%

A key issue driven by the pandemic has been waiters, concierges and bar staff not returning from furlough. Over the last six months of furlough, the number hospitality workers accessing the scheme dropped by 831,000, yet hospitality vacancies surged by almost 100,000 in that same period. Rather than returning to the industry, many have moved on to other sectors, with the most recent ONS data showing there are currently 151,000 hospitality job openings available. 

Sol Schlagman, Stint CEO and co-founder, commented: "The hospitality industry could be facing a second tough Christmas if these staffing holes aren’t plugged in time.

"We are trying to help, providing full-time staff with support from Stint’s students, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re calling on the government to encourage businesses to invest in their staff by raising the National Insurance Contribution threshold. The additional money granted to businesses will then help attract and keep the best talent.”

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