Vacancy rates are still 72% higher than they were pre-pandemic according to the latest labour market data from the ONS.

The overall UK employment rate was estimated at 75.6% from October to December 2022 – 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period, with the increase driven by part-time workers.

Vacancy rates in the accommodation and food service sectors reduced by 2.7% in the period from November 2022 to January 2023, compared to August to October 2022, but were still 71.3% above levels seen from January to March 2020.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive, UKHospitality said the figures indicated that hospitality businesses were “continuing to face an incredibly challenging recruitment landscape”.

“Recruitment will, undoubtedly, continue to be a key challenge for the industry to grapple with, so government intervention ranging from apprenticeship reform, investment in skills and implementing short-term immigration solutions, will ultimately make the challenge easier for businesses to manage,” she said.

“It is only through measures such as these that the sector will be able to truly turn the corner, filling essential roles to help deliver growth and create even more job opportunities.”

Earlier this month, UKHospitality presented its Budget submission to the Chancellor which called for Apprenticeship Levy reform, to give employers more control over the delivery and funding of training which would, ultimately, allow many of the economically inactive to get back into work.