The number of vacancies in the hospitality sector has fallen by 22% over the past year, and by 9% over the last quarter, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

But while the drop is “significant”, vacancies in the sector remain at 132,000 – which is still 48% higher than pre-Covid levels, UKHospitality has said.

“The drop in hospitality vacancies we have seen over the past year is testament to the huge effort the sector is putting in to develop our own talent and help people back into the labour market, such as investing in skills and creating more flexible working patterns,” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls commented.

“While a 22% drop over the past year is significant, it remains the case that vacancies remain stubbornly high and way in excess of pre-Covid levels.

“We continue to hear that worker shortages are forcing venues to reduce opening hours or trading days, demonstrating that vacancies are not reducing quickly enough to fulfil hospitality’s enormous potential.”

Nicholls said the one of the most meaningful actions that government could take to further reduce vacancies would be to add more hospitality roles, such as chefs, onto the Shortage Occupation List.

“We will be making this case as part of the Migration Advisory Committee’s review and would urge them to bolster hospitality’s representation on the list.”