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More than half (60%) of businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector plan to increase wages in the year ahead, a study out today (Wednesday) reveals.

And 49% of companies expect to boost staff levels, up from 47% last year, according to the Barclays Employers Survey 2015, which questioned 666 UK businesses1 across all sectors.

However, the report also reveals that hospitality and leisure sector is experiencing more shortages within skilled trade roles than most other sectors – 70% compared to 54% overall.

There is a marked increase in jobs being created at senior management level, with a jump to 47% from 27% last year.

Amongst businesses looking to increase staff levels, the survey also reports a hike in those looking to recruit at a low/unskilled level, up to 100% from 66% last time with 72% expecting to increase jobs at a middle/junior management level.

When asked how confident they felt about the UK economy compared to the same time last year, almost half of hospitality and leisure businesses (47%) confirmed they are more confident.

Just under two-fifths (39%) felt the same about the economy which was broadly similar to the figure of 37% in last year’s survey.

Barclays head of hospitality and leisure Mike Saul, Head said: “As confidence returns to the sector, it is reassuring to see businesses looking to recruit across a range of roles. That said, access to labour is clearly a growing issue for many.

“With further Barclays research forecasting that by 2017, total expenditure by domestic and overseas consumers in the UK will reach over £135 billion, it is imperative that businesses have the right people in the right jobs to ensure they are well-positioned for these future growth opportunities.

“Encouragingly, findings from this report would tend to indicate that the sector is gearing up to meet this challenge head on in 2015.”

Where businesses are hiring apprentices, they may also be starting to play a key role in helping to address skills gaps, the survey suggests.

Just over a third (34%) of firms in the sector have taken on apprentices over the past year and 39% are looking to take on apprentices in 2015.

Survey findings across all business sectors:

  • 67% of mid-size businesses are set to create new jobs and 82% set to increase wages this year (vs. 50% and 61% of businesses of all sizes)

  • 42% of the smallest businesses plan to take on new staff this year – the lowest of all the turnover bands surveyed

  • The majority (83%) of companies increasing staff levels will take on middle/ junior management/skilled staff.

  • 32% of businesses are gearing up to take on apprentices (vs. 29% in 2014)

  • 78% of vacancies in the last 12 months have been filled from within the UK. Just under a quarter (24%) said they had hired employees from inside the EU (not including the UK) and 7% from outside the EU.

  • 77% of businesses still think that sales lead to job creation – as opposed to job creation leading to sales.