The Office for National Statistics reports that the number of job vacancies in April to June 2021 was 9.9% (77,500) above its pre-pandemic level in January to March 2020, the first time it has surpassed this level in 15 months.
It says the rate of recovery since the start of the pandemic has varied across industries, but most are now displaying vacancy numbers exceeding levels seen prior to the first lockdown.
The largest increases are in human health and social work up 13.6% (18,400) and accommodation and food service activities up 21.1% (17,800), with the latter category also having the highest ratio of vacancies per 100 employee jobs at 4.5.
Five industries displayed a record number of vacancies from April to June 2021, with accommodation and food service activities increasing the most by 73,400 on the last quarter to 102,000.
The figures come at a time when the hospitality sector is still wrestling with an acute staffing crisis, with trade body UKHospitality publishing data last month that suggested a shortage of 188,000 workers across the industry.
In its findings, the ONS notes: "In this sector there is evidence of a shortage of skilled staff and of employees finding alternative areas of employment prior to the sector reopening."