Vacancies in the hospitality and food service industries have been in freefall since a 10pm curfew was imposed on the UK’s pubs and restaurants, with Scotland’s new restrictions set to inflict further pain on jobseekers, according to new data released by the world’s largest job site, Indeed.
Indeed’s analysis reveals that new job postings in the hospitality and tourism sector have fallen by 61% since the end of August and are down 9% since the 10pm curfew came into effect on September 24.
A similar analysis shows that hiring in the food preparation and service sector has fallen by a quarter (26%) since the end of August, with an 11% decline since the 10pm curfew.
The data also shows how the two sectors have endured several reversals of fortune in 2020. The number of vacancies plunged harder and faster than those in other industries at the start of lockdown, before recovering strongly after pubs were allowed to reopen at the start of July.
Hiring accelerated during August as the Government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme set tills ringing in pubs and restaurants. Between July’s ‘Super Saturday’, when venues were allowed to re-open, and the end of August, the number of new vacancies in hospitality and tourism jumped by 159%, while the increase in food preparation and service was 122%.
By contrast, the number of vacancies in other sectors is increasing and continues to inch closer to pre-lockdown levels.
Graph: Hiring in the food and hospitality sectors since February
On Wednesday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new measures, including pub closures for the centre of the country, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, from today (Friday). Pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to serve alcohol indoors for 16 days, although they will be allowed to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks inside from 6am to 6pm. They can continue to serve alcohol outdoors up to the current curfew of 10pm.
The UK Parliament is expected to vote next week on whether to keep England’s 10pm curfew in place.
Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at global job site Indeed said, “This summer’s encouraging signs of recovery in the food, drink and hospitality sectors slipped into reverse after the Government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme finished at the end of August. Since the imposition of a nationwide 10pm curfew a fortnight ago, the number of new vacancies has tipped into freefall.
“The industry is now braced for even more pain, with Scotland ordering the temporary closure of some pubs and banning the serving of alcohol indoors at those that can remain open.
“At their lowest point during lockdown, new job postings in these sectors were down 95% compared to their 2019 level. Progress has been made since then, but the gradual ratcheting up of restrictions – even though they still fall short of a second lockdown – has curtailed employers’ hiring intentions.
“Hiring levels continue to improve across the wider economy, but for Britain’s hardest-hit sectors it feels like a case of one step forward and two steps back.”