Key Challenges in Hospitality Industry Recruitment

Hospitality and travel industry is one of the biggest industries in the world and hires millions of staff annually. After decades of unparalleled growth, the Covid Pandemic led to a big blow to the hospitality industry.

However, the growth story has begun again and an uptick can be observed in hospitality industry hiring as well. In this post we are discussing the key challenges in the hospitality industry recruitment.

According to the UNWTO recommendations (on average):

  • a three-star hotel per 10 rooms should employ at least 8 people
  • a four-star hotel per 10 rooms should employ at least 12 people
  • a five-star hotel per 10 rooms should employ at least 20 people

This means that a hotel with 100 rooms should have around 1,500 employees on average.

This means a lot of hiring and training and thus a better retention rate and employee empowerment and satisfaction would be key to success in hospitality recruiting. 

Employees should be treated as long-term investments. More in the duration, higher would be the profit.

There are multiple issues that the hospitality industry recruiters are facing today.

We have mentioned a few below.

Challenges in Recruitment within the hospitality industry

1. High Staff Turnover

Staff turnover is actually one of the major management issues in the hospitality industry.

The staff turnover rate for the hospitality industry, based on multiple research, is double the average across industries.

Thus hiring the best talent is crucial, but even more important is retaining them in the longer run.

As already discussed this continues to be the key challenge for the hospitality industry overall.

There is a huge overlap of skills within the hospitality industry.

Plus, the salaries are extremely competitive which makes hoteliers switch for a promotion or even a smaller pay rise. Similar roles even add to the woes as it becomes easy to switch.

The turnover is higher in jobs like waiters, housekeeping team members, front office receptionists, commis chefs and other beginners to mid-level hospitality job roles.

2. Competitiveness of skilled hospitality talent 

This again is one of the key challenges in hospitality recruiting. It is rather difficult to find the exact match for the skills required.

Let’s take the example of roles like Chef with French cuisine expertise or a Reservation manager who can speak both German and Russian along with English.

Highly skilled candidates are like hot cakes in the industry with hotels ready to poach them at the first instance. This adds to the pressure and uncertainty.

3. Overlapping job descriptions and generic job roles

There is a huge overlap in job roles. It makes it difficult to source the right fit.

Almost everyone applies for every position making it difficult for the human resource executives or managers to select the right fit.

4. Retaining best hospitality talent is a huge challenge

Hospitality industry salary for a lot of positions is not that high considering other sectors like technology, medicine, engineering etc. Thus hoteliers might switch even for a small raise or for a better property.

The tier system in the hotel industry brings in the desire to jump to the higher star or tier even at a lesser or same salary.

Thus retaining best hospitality talent for a longer term is one of the major challenges faced by the hospitality industry.

5. Lengthy recruitment processes

Due to an overwhelmingly large number of applications and multiple interviews, the recruitment cycle in the hospitality industry can be lengthy.

This leads to applicants applying for multiple roles and backing out in between the recruitment process.

This leads to a lot of wastage in crucial recruitment time.

It is thus crucial to shortening the recruitment cycle in the hospitality industry.

6. Managing Cultural Diversity

Another important challenge in hospitality recruiting is to manage staff from various background and countries.

The hospitality industry has the most cosmopolitan staff community but managing the same in an organisation can be a nightmare for the human resources office.

A lot of hotels in cosmopolitan locations and travel destinations like Dubai, Maldives, Seychelles etc. attract visitors from all around the globe.

This necessitates the requirement of people from varied background to work at the hotels.  Plus, the nature of hospitality leads to staffing with a multicultural touch.

While this seems like bliss but can be a nightmare at times. Think in terms of religious practices, food habits, days off, general habits, leisure and more.