One of the biggest problems in the hospitality industry is the lack of qualified candidates to fill open positions. Not only can this be frustrating from a management standpoint, it can also mean missed revenue opportunities and lost business if guests can’t get an available room staff to assist them with their requests.
In this article, we look at the causes of this hospitality workforce shortage and ways that hoteliers can overcome it and make sure they have enough people working for them to meet guest expectations and exceed them when possible.
Hospitality Workforce Shortage/ Skill Shortage
Only COVID-19 pandemic can’t be accountable for this skill shortage in the travel and tourism sector. The industry was suffering from this crisis even before the pandemic. After the large-scale closures globally, the problem became tougher and resulted in thousands of job losses in a short span of time.
Now, when re-opening happened, there’s a lot of demand in the travel and tourism industry because people had the feeling of revenge-travel. And, hotels and resorts don’t have the required staff to meet this huge demand.
Therefore, the industry is facing a massive skilled staff shortage at the moment. According to August 2022 Report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (US), there is 3.7% unemployment rate in the United States and companies are facing the issue of qualified employees in other industries as well.
The hospitality industry is looking for skilled labor, which is difficult to get. There are many reasons why this shortage exists – it could be due to less interest in pursuing career in the hospitality field or that people may not want to be a part of this demanding and high-pursuing environment.
There are some ways that industry can overcome this global crisis which we’re going to discuss next in the article. But, before that, we’ll take a look at the detailed analysis on what causes this trouble in the hotel and tourism industry.
Top Reasons for Workforce Shortage in Hospitality
Each year, millions of new people enter the workforce and hundreds of thousands of employees leave their jobs. In this constant state of flux, business owners can struggle to keep up with the requirements of their staff, and as a result, many hospitality companies are experiencing considerable staff shortages. Following are some of the reasons behind this happening.
1. Baby Boomers are retiring
Many of the hotel staff are baby boomers, and they’re starting to retire. Without enough people to replace them, hospitality businesses are struggling to keep up with demand.
The current generation doesn’t want this job: millennials are more interested in office jobs than working as a waitress or bartenders. They want to be seen as more important.
A key reason why young adults don’t want these jobs is because they see themselves as being less important or lacking opportunity to grow compared to other industries.
Their work environment is perceived as hostile: many restaurant workers report feeling disrespected, underpaid and overworked when it comes to their jobs.
The fewer younger employees don’t know what needs doing. The lack of knowledge means that even if there was someone willing, there would be no one who could take on new tasks or projects without having the basics mastered first.
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2. Fewer young people are choosing career in hospitality
Young people are no longer interested in career such as bartending and waitressing, which have traditionally been very popular professions among those looking to enter the workforce.
Many of them would rather work from home or find employment with companies that offer more flexible hours so they can pursue other interests.
The economy is also partly to blame because many young people are finding jobs elsewhere that pay more than positions such as restaurant servers or cooks.
3. Good jobs don’t often lead to better ones
In order to get people to move from one job to another, you have to offer them a better job. If you’re having trouble getting people to stay with your company, it’s because they don’t see room for advancement within your company.
If there are many good jobs available that lead to better ones, then people will be more likely to switch jobs because they see a path to something better.
For example, if there is an opportunity at a different hotel down the street that pays more and has better benefits, chances are someone will make the switch.
4. There is a higher risk today than there was 20 years ago
Hospitality has long been considered a low-risk industry. However, there is a higher risk today in hospitality jobs than there was twenty years ago. This is due to a number of reasons such as COVID effect, hospitality jobs are becoming increasingly complex and demanding, making them more stressful and riskier for employees.
All of these factors combine to create a higher risk environment for hospitality workers today than there was in the past.
5. Economic factors – low unemployment, high growth industries
In 2020, when there were lockdowns in major economies, most of the central banks put huge money through stimulus in the markets which leads to a strong economy. Unemployment is low and job opportunities are plentiful, so why are there still shortages? One possible explanation is that there has been an increase in growth industries such as technology.
Jobs that were traditionally filled by those in the hospitality industry are now being filled by professionals in other industries, leaving less room for people from this field.
The baby boomer generation will also be retiring within a few years and will no longer be filling these jobs. Younger generations don’t seem to want to work in this industry as evidenced by their lack of interest when it comes to pursuing careers in food or lodging service.
Young people see these jobs as being below them and instead prefer careers that offer higher pay with more potential for advancement.
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6. Industry factors – low wages, high turnover
One of the main factors in this shortage is that wages are too low to attract and retain employees. Because of this, turnover is high, which increases costs and burdens on remaining staff.
Another factor is that employers have shifted their focus from investing in training to investing in technology, which has increased their efficiency but decreased opportunities for workers.
How to Overcome Hospitality Workforce Shortage?
As the hospitality industry continues to grow, so does the demand for qualified workers in this field. With a growing need and subsequent shortage of hospitality workers, many business owners are struggling to fill jobs and keep operations running efficiently.
Before we share the ways to combat hospitality labor shortage, we’d like to let you know that Hospitality Automation will help you overcome this problem. So, make sure you check more at www.botshot.ai.
This makes it more important than ever to find ways to attract candidates and train them effectively in order to continue growing your business. Here are some tips that can help you overcome this deficit and keep your employees trained and happy.
1. Consider more flexible working hours and schedules
It’s a good idea to offer flexible hours and schedules so that employees can work in a way that works best for them. One way you can do this is by hiring people who work remotely or at least have the option of working remotely. However, it’s not possible to provide remote jobs for all jobs but you can do this for the possible jobs.
And, provide them with work during flexible working hours, if possible. When you offer such types of benefits, you create an attractive work environment for the young generation. Thus, it helps you and your employees as well.
2. Create incentives for new hires
Offer new hires a signing bonus: a lump sum of money that is offered in addition to their salary and benefits. This incentive may be enough for some people to change jobs from one industry or city to another, and it can also be used as a bargaining tool when trying to lure away job candidates from competitors.
You’ll need to offer competitive pay, create a strong culture, and be clear about expectations from the get-go. But those aren’t your only options! You need to discuss these benefits with your team because your funds will be playing a crucial role in that.
3. Improve onboarding processes
Oftentimes, all it takes is a little shift in perspective for an employer to find themselves with a new and improved workforce. But sometimes that’s not enough. In order for your business to be successful, you’re going to need employees who are committed, driven and happy.
The keys are in hiring the right people and then providing them with an environment where they can do their best work. For this, make sure:
- Your application process is easy,
- Provide clear expectations upfront,
- Invest in training programs,
- Improve the onboarding process,
- Have a positive culture,
- Ensure there’s opportunity for growth.
4. Staff efficiency – train your employees
To overcome the workforce shortage, hospitality organizations should emphasize staff efficiency by training their employees. Training should start from day one, but formal training should also be provided on an ongoing basis.
You can’t just train employees once. You need to train them continuously for them to maintain their skillset. Ongoing training will also help increase staff efficiency and productivity.
5. Encourage internships
Internships are a great way for students and recent graduates to gain experience in the hospitality industry, which is also why they’re such as important part of our curriculum. Internships provide real world experience in hospitality management, customer service and marketing skills.
Internships not only offer an opportunity for them to develop their skills and expertise, but also provide a sense of belonging within an organization.
Internship programs can be tailored to suit your needs as well as your interns’ skill levels. Interns can be assigned tasks that match their skill set and work alongside other team members. Interns are often given assignments that are challenging, interesting and unique.
6. Set realistic expectations
Overcoming the labor shortage in hospitality is not going to be easy. So, hoteliers need to focus on every possible thing. One way to do this is by setting realistic expectations. You can do this by making sure your employees know what they’re hired for.
At the time of joining, you tell the employee “This is my expectation” but you changed your expectation later. It’s going to put unnecessary pressure on the employee. So, make sure to stick to what you tell them in the beginning.
If you’re looking for someone who is willing to work long hours for low pay, make that clear before you hire them. Or, if you want people with a certain skill set or experience level, make sure that’s communicated too.
You can also go the other direction and offer high-level benefits like health insurance or other perks that are hard to find in other industries.
7. New ways of hiring
When less people are interested in working hospitality, hoteliers need to find new ways of hiring the staff. Here are some tips to do the same easily.
Hire freshers from hospitality schools and train them: Consider partnering with a hospitality school. You could offer internships or apprenticeships that provide students with exposure and hands-on training in exchange for work experience and valuable contacts.
Headhunting from competitors’ hiring: When something you’re doing doesn’t work for you it clearly means that you’re not doing it the right way. The same logic applies to hiring. When you’re unable to fill the vacancies in your hotel, you need to look at what your competitors are doing to do the same task. All in all, you have to fill the gap.
Consider outsourcing some aspects of your business: Outsourcing is a great way to overcome a staff shortage. Hire people who have expertise in areas that you don’t and focus on what you’re best at. This could be outsourced design, marketing or accounting. You can also look into partnering with other businesses in your industry by making an agreement where you both provide certain services for each other.
How BotShot can help hotels combat this problem?
Today’s era is digital era and we’ve access to technology in every field. So, to combat the labor shortage in hospitality, industry needs to use automation. BotShot helps hotels to increase their revenue, improve guest experience and reduce manpower by automating a couple of tasks such as contactless front desk system, automated guest feedback system, chatbot for customer service, marketing automation and many others.
So, feel free to schedule a demo with us so you can also automate your hotel operations to fight this global hospitality workforce shortage.
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