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Hospitality sector defies double-dip recession fears, reporting 'active' recruitment across all industries


Fears that a double dip recession may hit the hospitality industry were scotched as a new report from Caterer.com and People 1st reveals it is experiencing the highest level of jobs activity for over two years.

The second Hospitality Employment Index shows businesses are actively recruiting across all industries, particularly for more senior and highly skilled staff, and gearing themselves to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and other major sporting events.

Recent figures show a vigorous hospitality jobs market that has almost doubled with new job vacancies soaring from 26,550 in the second quarter of 2009 to 45,000 new roles in the same quarter of 2011.

The number of job applications too has rocketed by over a third from 640,000 to 800,000 submissions in the past year, reflecting increasing competition in the jobs market.

Much of this growth comes from increasing demand for competent restaurant managers and skilled chefs and highlights the ongoing difficulty that businesses have in recruiting skilled staff.

The quarterly Index charts the number of job vacancies and applications made on Caterer.com and provides the most comprehensive analysis of trends emerging within the UK's hospitality sector.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, said: "The Hospitality Employment Index is a strong indicator of the sector's economic health and clearly shows that sector businesses are more confident and buoyant about their future. There are far more fantastic opportunities now than ever before for high calibre staff and it is anticipated that this will continue beyond the New Year as businesses review their staffing and recruitment needs. Thousands of workers will be needed in hospitality and businesses need to be thinking now about the implications that the Games1 will have on their business and whether they have the right quantity and levels of staff in place."

Ian Burke, website director of Caterer.com, added: "With more job applications than ever before on Caterer.com, the hospitality sector continues to be very competitive for jobseekers, and we expect this demand for jobs to increase as we head towards the Olympics in 2012."

The greatest number of jobs were for restaurant management positions - 7,740 vacancies - growing by nine percent since the first quarter despite the lull in activity around the Easter break and the Royal Wedding.

Demand for head chefs soared by a staggering third (34%) whilst the number of posts for chefs de partie grew by a quarter (19%).

London and the South East proved to be the greatest job generators over the past year creating 12,770 and 13,606 new vacancies followed by the North East where the number of job vacancies increased by a quarter to 821 new positions.