Facing the Recruitment ChallengesThe hotel and restaurant world has traditionally struggled to recruit suitable executive staff. Research from 2016 shows that, even back then, almost 82% of hospitality employers found the task challenging. However, it’s become a lot harder recently.
Since the start of the pandemic, lockdowns and uncertainty across all industries have contributed to older workers retiring in droves to enjoy the remainder of their lives. Meanwhile, younger candidates are quitting because they feel underappreciated. Many are doing the jobs of several people, often at a lower salary and with non-existent benefits.
This situation is not necessarily anyone’s fault—it’s the result of what has to happen during these times for companies to survive. Regardless, employees are revising their priorities and joining the Great Resignation to embrace remote work, digital nomadism, and gain independence from working under a boss.
Additionally, the frenetic recruitment activity impacting economic sectors across the board has made it easier than ever before for workers to switch careers. A 2022 Joblist U.S. Job Market report shows three out of four full-time workers plan to resign in the next 12 months, with 79% of employees believing they can make more money by switching than staying in their current jobs. To top it all, hospitality employees are recognized as having strong customer service orientation and training, resulting in their poaching by other industries.
The Changing Hospitality LandscapeAs the world reopens after what I sincerely hope is finally a tapering-off of the pandemic, I see changes taking place that will likely affect the hospitality landscape for the foreseeable future. These changes include reduced business travel and less need for conferences and events. If countries continue to make entry difficult for international visitors, the focus on local marketing will grow as the “staycation” increases in popularity. If not, international leisure travel is likely to resume at a cracking pace.
Expected Hiring Trends in 2022So, what hiring trends can we expect to see happening as we head into this year? I believe the top requirements for hotel and restaurant executives will include:
1. A Focus on Employee Experience
Executives don’t need to know how to code to have a solid understanding of technological tools and how they can benefit the workplace. Technology has played an important role in global hospitality over the years, including helping to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and enhance service and customer experience.
Since 2020, the digital transformation of the industry has been relentless. From online food delivery to accommodation services, technology serving both customers and suppliers has been a business priority. The use of apps as room keys was outstripped only by the demand for contactless check-in and other self-serve financial options.
For example, in October 2021 Raising Cane’s restaurant chain assigned half its corporate staff to work in the restaurants while it concentrated on hiring 10,000 workers in 50 days—a novel solution to a potentially massive problem.
Aiming for Success
Other enterprising trends I expect to see more of in 2022 include:
- A shift to internal promotions resulting from upskilling valuable workers and building transferable skills among existing employees. This will enable companies to transfer them to areas with a higher need or greater ROI. Upskilling also gives employees an added boost of confidence, a stronger sense of belonging, and deepens their personal trust in management—all signs of higher levels of engagement.
- More value will be placed on skills previously considered secondary to hospitality roles, such as problem-solving abilities, the capacity for taking a leadership role, thriving under pressure, or competence in dealing with guest issues and concerns.
- Offering real, meat-and-potatoes hiring incentives instead of lip-service. As of September 2021, Marriot Hotels had 10,000 vacancies in 600 managed hotels across the U.S. The only way the company is likely to fill those spots will be by offering higher wages, better health benefits, 401(k) options, college tuition support for executives’ families, childcare, flexible shifts, and referral bonuses.
Companies Need a Long-Term PlanHospitality companies will be competing fiercely for top talent for some time to come, so it’s worth your while to make vacant executive positions as appealing as possible. Develop a long-term hiring plan that offers a consistent career path for the right incumbents, and prepare for every possible post-pandemic scenario you can. Higher compensation, better work-life balance, professional orientation programs, and future career growth opportunities are the secrets to attracting the best candidates in these difficult times.
 The Caterer, Overwhelming majority of hospitality employers find recruiting harder than ever, Retrieved Jan 21, 2022.
 Modern Restaurant Management, NCR Reveals 2022 Hospitality Trends and Predictions, Retrieved Jan 21, 2022.
 Forrester, Predictions 2022: 2022 Will Go Down As The Year Executives Were Forced To Care About EX, Retrieved Jan 21, 2022.
 Statista, Digitalization of hospitality worldwide- statistics & facts, Retrieved Jan 21, 2022.
 HVS, Growing Use of Technology and Robotics in Food Service, Retrieved Jan 21, 2022.
 Restaurant Drive, Half of Raising Cane's corporate staff will work in restaurants to fight labor shortage, Retrieved Jan 21, 2022.
 Financial Times, Marriott warns of ‘fight for talent’ as hotels struggle to find staff, Retrieved Jan 21, 2022.
 Hotel Management How benefits can help hotels overcome hiring challenges, Retrieved Jan 21, 2022.