Staff shortages are at critical levels and causing hospitality to lose £21bn in trade, according to a joint survey by UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and the British Beer and Pub Association.

The survey reveals 45% of operators have cut trading hours or capacity to cope with staff shortages at critical levels, with one in three businesses closed one or more days per week. This is causing both a loss in revenue and an estimated £5bn loss in tax for the Exchequer.

The highest shortages are for front of house roles and chefs, with 81% and 76% of operators with vacancies looking to recruit these positions, respectively. 67% are looking to recruit kitchen porters and 53% are looking to recruit assistant managers.

The survey follows recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics that show a record 174,000 jobs available in the sector, with vacancies up 83% compared to March-May 2019.

In a joint statement, UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and the British Beer and Pub Association said: “These figures clearly show the danger to the industry and financial loss to the country via taxes posed by the current staffing crisis. In short, the recovery of both the sector and the UK economy are being threatened by this workforce shortage.

“Operators have been doing all they can to help solve the issue, from increasing wages, to flexible working. However, this can only help so much, and the sector must be given targeted support in order to solve the crisis.

“People are at the heart of hospitality, providing the quality customer service and personal experiences that people want. On the other side of the coin, the sector offers jobseekers a wide range of roles and fulfilling careers with great potential for progression.

“The sector offers opportunities to people of all levels of expertise, experience and backgrounds. A booming hospitality workforce will create fantastic opportunities, drive economic growth and aid regeneration in communities across the UK.”