Managing the Mass Exodus: Strategies for securing top talent in the midst of a labor shortage
By Jason Ferrara Vice President, Corporate Marketing, CareerBuilder | December 15, 2009
It takes a lot of people to make a hotel feel like home for its guests. So it's not surprising that the hospitality industry is a major component of the overall U.S. labor force. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the accommodations and food services industry makes up 8.1 percent of all employment.
And Americans aren't abandoning their vacations or business outings anytime soon. The hospitality industry is expected to grow 18 percent and add more than 1.6 million new jobs through 2012, according to BLS data.
But while we're in the business of making others feel cared for, the labor market won't be very comfortable for hospitality employers in coming years.
A shrinking labor force
The United States is facing a looming shortage over the next few decades. In the past, the nation has always been able to depend on an expanding labor force, but this growth is expected to slow to just 3 percent over the next 20 years.
By 2012, the there will be 43 percent more people in the 55 to 64 age bracket. By contrast, the number of workers between the prime working ages of 25 and 54 is expected to stagnate. This means smaller generations of replacement workers will move in to fill the gap left by retiring Baby Boomers... and productivity can't make up the differential.