The staffing shortage in the hotel industry, which was already an issue before the Corona crisis in 2019, has been exacerbated by the outbreak of the 2020 pandemic. Due to both the uncertainty during the lockdown and short-time work and irregular pay, a large number of former hotel staff have moved to other industries.
To make matters worse, the industry doesn’t seem attractive enough to many young people because of the low pay, poor work-life balance and lots of overtime. This results in a reduction in junior staff, further exacerbating the shortage of hotel personnel.
The staff shortage in the hotel industry: a vicious circle
As soon as one worker is missing, it means at the same time that the other employees have to fill the missing gap. The increased workload can be accompanied by employee dissatisfaction, which automatically has a negative impact on the working atmosphere.
If the workload is permanently increased, the working atmosphere remains tense and can lead to a renewed loss of employees because they change jobs due to the high workload. This creates a vicious circle, which is caused by the lack of personnel and leads to the same problem again and again.
The shortage of skilled workers results in a limited offer and the necessity to refuse orders because many services are no longer feasible. The loss of service quality in turn leads to dissatisfaction among guests, which in turn leads to lower sales. Once the hotel industry is part of the downward spiral, many hotels may even face closure.
Current developments in the hotel industry
As a result of the Corona pandemic, there has currently been a significant decline in the number of employees subject to social insurance contributions in the hotel industry. As already mentioned, the crisis led to a large number of employees changing industries, as the lockdown and short-time work brought great uncertainty. Therefore, from now on, the hotel industry is no longer considered a safe labor sector during crises. According to a survey of members of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA), more than 42 percent of employees are said to have reoriented themselves to other industries.
According to a business survey conducted by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the shortage of personnel is said to have been a problem even before the Corona pandemic. The survey shows that 74 percent of companies in the guest fabric rated the shortage of skilled workers as a risk to their business development.
The shortage of skilled workers is therefore already being described as the greatest economic risk for the tourism industry in 2019. A Statista survey in the fall showed similar results. In this survey, 66.5 percent of hoteliers said that staff recruitment was the main problem area in the hotel industry.
Image loss of the hotel industry
Since 2010, fewer and fewer young people have chosen to train in hotels. The reason for this trend is seen in a loss of image of the industry as well as an increase in young people who decide to study.
According to a study conducted by Gronda with the support of Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, 1596 industry workers in the DACH region were asked what factors they value in their work. Participants indicated that continuing education as well as career opportunities were important to them.
Since the younger generations Y and X in particular attach great importance to career opportunities – which is currently only given to a limited extent in hotels – the hotel industry is no longer considered attractive for young people.
In addition, it is becoming increasingly common for hotel professionals with years of experience to turn their backs on the industry. Factors such as poor working conditions, low wages, lack of appreciation and unmotivated colleagues are cited as reasons.
Staff shortage in the hotel industry: how to solve the problem?
One possible approach to counteracting the staff shortage in the hotel industry would be to offer hotel staff a future
flexible working model with an interactive duty roster.
to offer, in which the needs and wishes of the staff can be taken into account. In this modern work model, hoteliers provide their employees with a digital and interactive rostering program that has a high degree of adaptability in shift scheduling.
This flexible working model, where staff can determine their availabilities and swap shifts with each other, should be
should be highlighted as a special feature in the job ad
so that job seekers who are dependent on childcare or have other commitments can also be addressed.
In addition, employees should be given the opportunity to receive continuing
and to get involved in new areas, which a flexible working model should also ensure. For example, there is the possibility of a takeover of the social media channel or the involvement in further marketing activities of the operation of individual service members who want to acquire knowledge in other, new areas.
Another solution approach would be a stronger involvement of
digital helpers and tools
This optimizes processes and, in turn, reduces the workload on personnel. Digitization can automate recurring and constant processes, which can save a lot of time when handling inquiries or check-in and check-out.
The shortage of personnel in the hotel industry has not only been a problem since the Corona crisis. In 2019, it was already apparent that the hotel industry as a career field no longer seemed attractive enough, especially for many young people. In addition to a trend toward more students, exclusion criteria for choosing a career in the hotel industry include a salary that is too low, poor opportunities for advancement and irregular working hours.
Even hotel specialists with years of professional experience switch to another industry due to poor working conditions, low wages, lack of appreciation and unmotivated colleagues. However, there are possible solutions to make this occupational field more attractive again for hotel personnel. These include, for example, the introduction of a flexible working model with an interactive duty roster that also enables further training. The second solution approach involves the use of digital tools to facilitate the workflow of hotel staff.