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South East


  • There are approximately 26,900 establishments in the South East.
  • 65% of these establishments are ‘restaurants’ or ‘pubs, bars and nightclubs’.
  • Kent has the largest number of establishments in the South East.
  • Over 3 quarters of establishments employ between 1 and 10 people.


  • Approximately 268,600 people work in the sector in the South East, of which over a quarter work in ‘restaurants’.
  • 56% of the workforce is female.
  • Over half of the workforce is employed on a full-time basis.
  • The sector employs a young workforce. Almost 60% of the workforce in the South East is aged between 16-34 years.


  • 44% of the workforce in the South East work in elementary occupations, such as kitchen assistants, waiting staff and bar staff.
  • Approximately 200,000 people work in core sector occupations.


  • There were 4,599 vacancies in core hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism occupations advertised in Jobcentres in the South East in May 2008.
  • In contrast a much lower number of vacancies (3,573) in core sector vacancies were advertised in Jobcentres in the South East in May 2009.
  • The largest number of vacancies was for ‘kitchen and catering assistants’, ‘chefs and cooks’ and ‘bar staff’.
  • 8% of sector establishments report they had hard-to-fill vacancies, which is comparable with the national average.

Workforce skills

  • Over half of the sector’s workforce is qualified to Level 2 and Level 3.
  • 24% are qualified to Level 1 or entry level. 14% are qualified to Level 4. 10% hold no qualifications.
  • 17% of employers in the South East reported skills gaps in their current workforce
  • Employers report that 7% of staff are not fully proficient in their jobs.

Source: South East Regional Profile and Skills Needs Assessment 2009