SOME 87 PERCENT of hotels are now experiencing a staffing shortage and 36 percent said they witness severe shortage, according to a survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. However, the situation has improved now compared to May when 97 percent of respondents said they struggled to recruit staff.
As many as 43 percent of the hotels said that the most critical staffing need is housekeeping, the AHLA survey found. To address the crisis, 81 percent of hotels have increased wages to potential hires, 64 percent are offering greater flexibility with hours, and 35 percent have expanded benefits, the survey said. But 91 percent said they are still unable to get adequate staff. Now, hotels are trying to fill an average of 10.3 positions per property, which was 12 vacancies in May.
In May, 49 percent of those surveyed said they are severely short-staffed and 58 percent admitted housekeeping was the biggest challenge.
“Today’s tight labor market is creating unprecedented career opportunities for current and prospective hotel employees, and AHLA and the AHLA Foundation are working tirelessly to spread the word. With hotel wages, benefits, flexibility and upward mobility at historic levels, there has never been a better time to work at a hotel than the present,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hotel employment was down by nearly 400,000 jobs in August compared to February 2020. Hotels are looking to fill many of the jobs lost during the pandemic, including more than 115,000 jobs open now.
National average hotel wages for 2022 through June are more than $22 per hour—higher than any other year on record. Since the pandemic, average hotel wages have increased faster than average wages throughout the general economy, AHLA said in a statement.
The AHLA Foundation’s “A Place to Stay” multi-channel advertising campaign to help hotels fill open jobs is now active in 14 cities.
In a recent development, AHLA declared Sept. 1 as National Hotel Employee day.