In part, it's because COVID-19 forced a shift in priorities for many hospitality workers
The core reason for this is that most hospitality companies are understaffed and are unable to quickly fill the gaps in their workforce. So, how do we account for the global labor shortage in 2022?
Like with many problems of this magnitude, there’s more than one reason behind the current hotel labor shortage. In this article, we’ll explore the various elements that are making it difficult for the hospitality industry to both hire and retain workers, and share some actionable tips and tricks to stay ahead.
What causes labor shortages?
Hospitality has not been immune to the so-called "Great Resignation" that has hit a number of industries in the past couple of years. It's no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been brutal for many businesses in the sector.
Around the world, companies had to pivot and adjust as countries deployed travel restrictions, rolled out their vaccine programs, and then figured out what it meant to reopen their borders. Conventions, trade shows and other business events were postponed indefinitely as remote work became the "new normal."
For many hospitality employers, this meant having to let go of staff that they simply could not afford to pay as they waited for some sign that things would return to “normal.”
Now, as the industry picks up again and job openings increase, many of those same workers don’t want to go back to their old jobs.
In fact, at the end of 2021, compared to the national average, the US hotel industry had nearly triple the unemployment rate, even after a significant uptick in hiring.
A workforce that wants more than just jobs
Meanwhile, in Canada, 64% of businesses in accommodation and food services expect ongoing labor shortages in the third quarter of 2022. The reasons?
People are looking for higher-paying jobs that offer better perks and more flexible schedules — and most experienced workers have already made this shift.
They are tired of dealing with unruly or demanding guests that have little consideration for their wellbeing.
There’s less of an interest in labor-intensive jobs such as housekeeping and maintenance.
Recruiting a workforce is hard to prioritize
Moreover, the hotel managers who are usually responsible for hiring are having to cover the labor gap and focus on other tasks — making it difficult for them to prioritize recruitment.
The impacts are proving dire. Hospitality businesses are having to reduce the number of rooms they have available, shut down their on-site restaurants, limit the services they offer and ultimately provide suboptimal experiences to their guests. Customer satisfaction scores are down, and hotel leaders are looking for ways to turn things around.
How can your company combat the worker shortage?
The global worker shortage is a systemic issue that’s going to take time and a commitment to collaborative thinking to solve.
In the meanwhile, however, there are a number of things individual operators can do to attract and retain staff.
Build your brand and focus on recruitment marketing. Attract new workers by sharing your values and the things that make your company culture unique.
Invest in a new generation of workers by partnering with local education institutions and creating a sustainable pipeline of local tourism-business professionals to fill job openings.
Revisit your employee perks and benefits. Today’s employees are looking for compensation that goes beyond the base salary — make sure your company is meeting them where they are.
Be transparent about professional development. People want to know how they can progress from one job to another, and being clear about mobility opportunities can help with that.
Leverage services in your local community and outsource some of the key functions you’re having a hard time hiring for.
Choose technology solutions that make your team more efficient. Automated chatbots and digital keycards, for instance, are vastly reducing the burden on front-desk staff.
How can technology help?
PressReader is another example of a technology that’s freeing up hotel teams of some tasks. Instead of spending time on the selection, ordering and distribution of paper publications to their clients, teams can rely on PressReader to do all of that for them on a convenient digital platform.
The hotel can also use the platform to share important information (such as a hotel directory and seasonal restaurant menus), and get back the time they would have spent printing and distributing those items.
For a detailed overview of the things you can do, we’ve taken a closer look at possible solutions in our recent article on how to get ahead of the hospitality worker shortage.
Hospitality leaders need to seek solutions
It would be easy to look at the current hotel labor shortage as an unsolvable issue that just needs to play itself out — but that would be a mistake.
Proactive hotel leaders are taking their fate into their own hands, finding ways to generate a sustainable community of workers who want to both enter and continue improving the hospitality sector.
If you’re one such leader and you’re doing something different to what we’ve outlined above — and you’re open to sharing it with our community — click at the button below and let’s chat.