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How to overcome the skills shortage in the hospitality industry

How to overcome the skills shortage in the hospitality industry

Finding the right people to work in your business is the single most important job for any leader. But what do you do when there is an industry-wide skills shortage? That’s the question facing hospitality executives as we begin 2018 amidst political uncertainty and challenging economic conditions. Fortunately, there are proactive strategies that can help you attract the workers you need for your hospitality business to flourish.


Be flexible about your ideal candidate

The time to be rigid about what you demand from a potential candidate is over, you need to think more laterally. The hospitality industry thrives on soft skills delivered by people with the right disposition, so make sure you make it as easy for them to apply for roles as possible. Don’t dismiss a candidate who fits some, but not all, of your criteria. It’s often worth meeting them and discovering if you can train them in the aspects of the job they don’t already know. In the race to recruit great people with ability, being flexible is key.


Invest in the staff you have

Before you employ someone from outside your company, take a good look at the workforce you have. It’s much easier to recruit for lower skilled jobs as more people can do them. By identifying current staff who have the potential to move up in the company, you can teach them the ropes on a more senior position, and then recruit for their old job. If you have a reputation for being proactive in staff development, it can make your business more attractive to potential employees.

Recruit the next generation of hospitality professionals

One of the best ways to recruit and retain staff is to hire young people and give them an amazing first job experience. The top talent of the future is about to leave college or school today, and if you take the time to engage them it’ll pay off. We know that the workplace expectations of the new generation are all about work/life balance, opportunities for personal development, and a great culture in the company. If those things aren’t in place, you’ll struggle to capture their attention and win their loyalty. Also, consider using trainees as it’s not difficult to get people ready to take on entry-level jobs. Too many companies overlook trainees when trying to fill roles, but they can be a great solution.

Create an exemplary company culture

Hospitality is a fast-paced, demanding industry, and everyone knows there’s a serious skills shortage. So, you have to offer something special to entice the right people in. A healthy company culture is characterised by consistent communication between management and the workforce, a genuine effort to look after the wellbeing of staff, shared goals for the entire company and a system to reward exceptional performance. If your current employees feel respected and nurtured, they’ll tell the people they meet that your business is a great place to work. This pure PR will help your recruitment efforts no end.


Real opportunities for promotion and development

It’s not enough to pay well and create a nice environment for your staff to work in, you should think about their future as seriously as they do. Employees, particularly youngsters, will want to know there is the chance to move up in your business, and that you’ll be active in training them to reach the next level. Take time to notice where their strengths lie, and give them encouragement and the chance to develop accordingly. A stagnant job with no prospects isn’t going to inspire long service from many workers, so do your part in moving them – and, in turn, your business – forward.


If you’ve got a hospitality job that needs a great candidate, get in touch. Our expert team have got talent ready to meet you.


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