LONDON: A new analysis of staff shortages by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed 205,000 travel and tourism jobs across the UK predicted to remain unfilled by the end of this year.
The worrying figures from WTTC, which represents the global private travel and tourism, shows for the first time the enormous impact staff shortages could have on the UK’s economic recovery.
Data compiled by Oxford Economics for WTTC, analysed staff shortages across the UK and other major Travel & Tourism markets, including the US, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, between July – December 2021 and 2022.
All countries showed significant staff shortages, with employment demand starting to outstrip the available labour supply.
As unemployment rates decrease and demand rises, travel and tourism businesses have been left struggling to fill available job vacancies.
The UK alone is predicted to see a shortfall of around 12%, with a staggering one in eight job vacancies left unfilled.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, said: “The UK’s economic recovery could be jeopardised if we don’t have enough people to fill these jobs as travellers return.
“If we cannot fill these vacancies, it could threaten the survival of travel and tourism businesses up and down the UK. Companies dependent on tourism have been hanging on for the upside, but this is just another blow that many may not survive”.
The global tourism body also warns reinstating damaging travel restrictions, such as the recent measures aimed at curbing the spread of the new variant, will not stop the virus and only damage livelihoods.
Since the start of the pandemic, the UK job retention scheme paid furloughed workers 80% of their pre-pandemic income, with workers earnings up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
As a result, the fall in employment was not as sharp as the fall in demand for the sector, leading to a reduction of only 6.5% in direct travel and tourism employment in 2020, which equates to 111,000 job losses.
WTTC’s report outlines solutions for governments and businesses to tackle the looming crisis of labour shortages, recognising the impact of furlough schemes.