Is there a positive from the years of Covid-19 that have ravaged the hotel industry – maybe not…
Post Covid, there seems to be an acute staff shortage in hospitality reflected by the fact that that some restaurants are still unable to re-open, and many hotels have cut back on the services offered and standards delivered.
So what does that really tell us?
The once, seemingly glamourous, hospitality business is out of favour with many sectors of the workforce, and those that were in hospitality have discovered that the grass really is greener on the other side, opting to stay in jobs and other industries with better pay and certainly better conditions.
The question remains of course, is why?
Recently I was speaking to a lifelong friend of mine who is based in Europe. He was previously a hotel GM in several major European cities and the Middle East, with one of the big hotel chains.
He retired during Covid only to be asked to return and assist with an opening. He was very blunt about the situation and difficulty finding quality staff.
He said the new ‘thinking’ in Europe seems to be, work less hours for the same pay or more.
Being an old timer in the industry he was shocked when he approached a friend to be No. 2 for the property (with a guarantee to become GM once the property had opened) and was given a lecture about why he wasn’t interested in the job. The main points being: –
Pay versus working hours and responsibility are way out of line. He can get the same pay for a 9-5 job with a 5-day work week, regular weekends and holidays and a good quality family life away from the hotel industry.
Job Security – Many companies just let go of their staff during Covid, which obviously doesn’t help build confidence in these still turbulent times. Management companies dancing to the tune of owners with some department heads still waiting to be paid their salary from 2021. (In particular with expatriate positions who have few, if any, legal avenues to claim their pay).
Employment status – single status is the preferred with many hotels and rarely is a company willing to relocate a family, pay for education, accommodation, etc.
In a nutshell, the guy was offered a salary that was the same as offered about 8 years ago in the same location, but with even less benefits.
Well, the inevitable results of these changes mean two things – find someone for the low salary, irrespective of qualifications to make up the numbers work and compromise whatever standards and expectations that were originally planned.
Maybe it is time for the industry to address the issue of salary and benefits and bring that in line with today’s expectations to attract good, qualified, and dedicated staff. That should go all the way from line management to the top.
It seems in some way the industry is stuck in a time warp when it comes to salaries and benefits.
This is the 21st century and while it seems it is all about the bottom line, one asks what the mantra of the good old days was all about, when we told staff that good employees are the recipe to a company’s success.
About the Author
Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.