The year 2022 is one set to be remembered for a long time to come. This year has largely seen economies and countries gradually opening up their borders and business as usual resuming in most parts of the world. Except that one thing hasn’t changed: It is still a highly labor-intensive industry with a track record of being slow to adopt new practices and technologies– and we have a labor shortage.
The labor shortage is not a new problem, but with demand for leisure and travel increasing sharply while airlines, hotels, and F&B businesses struggle to bring back furloughed or hire new employees, the imbalance has been crippling and is amplifying the familiar staffing issue in the industry. As Rosanna Maietta, EVP of Communications & PR at the American Hotel & Lodging Association, puts it: “we have more people traveling than working [in the industry]”.
While the situation is currently unfavorable for hoteliers, it is far from a lost battle, and ideas on how to tackle the crunch are as diverse as the industry itself.
There is a general understanding that governments should play a part in mitigating the severity of the crisis by facilitating regulations aligned with current job market expectations and that individuals have a duty to put pressure on their governments towards achieving this. But there is also plenty that can be done on the companies’ side, and the general consensus is that changing the image of the industry is a crucial step to recovery.
The Hospitality Industry is a people business, and implementing measures to support our own people – the staff – is a great way to begin. Ensuring fair compensation, benefits, flexibility, career development, and a truly caring work environment will result in happier employees who are dedicated to the company and to caring for the guests. As Gefferson Alves, Managing Director at Ba’ra Hotel Joao Pessoa, said in an interview: “We can’t have happy guests if the staff aren’t happy with their jobs, and our job as hoteliers is to provide them with support and opportunity. Let’s treat people the way they should be treated, let’s pay them more not because we have to, but because we want to, and because we want to keep our business alive not only for the next five or ten years but for the next twenty.”
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