Industry Labor Shortage: Some Approaches to Growing Your Hotel Staff
By Mark Ricketts President & Chief Operating Officer, McNeill Hotel Company | November 24, 2019
Many entities, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association, have estimated that the hospitality industry is facing a severe shortage of desired staff, at all organizational levels.
Of reports by industry consultants, Deloitte, in its 2019 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook, notes "In 2009, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 353,000 job openings across the leisure and hospitality sector. As of 2018, with the travel industry surging, that number swelled to 1,139,000. " While numbers like those just cited aggregate several related business types and are subject to further interpretation, the "labor gap" has been a well-voiced theme of concern at hospitality industry meetings in recent years.
Difficulty in finding needed staff is being reported by hospitality groups of all sizes, across many regions and property types. Property managers are looking for cost-effective solutions, especially for front-line positions like housekeeping or the front desk that are extremely demanding.
A number of factors are making it more difficult for hoteliers to recruit and bring on board needed talent, especially for those entry-level positions just noted. These include the present-day low unemployment rate, the increases in minimum wage rates in a number of states and competition from other service industries; a process complicated by the turnover attendant to many hourly positions.
The most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a monthly turnover (separations) of 6.8 percent for accommodation and food workers in the Leisure and Hospitality Industry; an annual turnover of as high as 80 percent.
Similar concerns apply at most levels of a hotel, including for frontline managers and supervisors, plant maintenance or sales and marketing staffs. Even with executives, hospitality organizations are competing with their peer group, as well as similar industries in areas like information technology, accounting, asset management or human resources.