Up to 83% of hospitality businesses have reporting staffing difficulties, the highest proportion alongside the construction sector.
That is according to new figures released by the British Chambers of Commerce, which has seen the overall proportion of firms struggling to recruit staff reach new record levels.
Attempted recruitment in the fourth quarter of 2021 was up on previous quarters with 64% overall attempting to recruit staff (61% in the third quarter). However, the proportion of firms reporting difficulties filling roles reached a historical high at 79%, up from 77% in the previous quarter.
Firms reported a broad range of issues contributing to the overall recruitment squeeze, including disruption due to Covid and a drop in the availability of foreign staff.
Head of people policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, Jane Gratton, said: "Once again, the results highlight the ongoing difficulties employers are facing in accessing skills and labour and the risk to our economic recovery.
"The record level of firms struggling to fill job vacancies in the quarter will have impacted on businesses' ability to meet demand for goods and services – adding to already acute supply chain pressures.
"And now, as the Omicron variant begins to increase staff absences again, many firms could see any growth and recovery they have made slip back to first base.
"More business investment in home grown talent – and creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce – is key to solving pervasive skills shortages, but this won't happen overnight. Burdened with high levels of debt, escalating wage and input costs, damaged cashflow and an uncertain economic environment, employers need help to get back on their feet.
"The government must do all it can to ensure people can access rapid retraining opportunities for in-demand jobs, issue temporary visas for lower skilled jobs – where there is clear evidence of a national shortage – and ensure there are no further upfront costs on business for the remainder of this Parliament."
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