After Hurricane Sandy, a number of hotels returned to business as usual. But not everyone wants a career change. Some hospitality employees found they did not enjoy the work after their Hurricane Sandy experience. And some of them will not change their mind.
A recent survey conducted by staffing recruitment agency Adecco found that 59% of hospitality workers would not return to their old jobs – and that gap was widest for those in the leisure industry. These individuals said that they found a lack of ambition in their former employers, poor training and poor long-term prospects.
The Joblist survey results show that many hospitality workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic are hesitant to return to the industry, even if there is a sudden return to demand for travel and hospitality services.
Many Americans who worked in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries became unemployed after the COVID-19 strike as their employers cut jobs, cut costs or shut down operations. After having to rebuild so radically during a prolonged crisis, thousands of people are realizing that they want to leave the industry.
Half of former hospitality workers surveyed in the second quarter Joblist survey said they would not return to their old jobs, while a third said they would not even consider returning to the sector. Low wages, poor benefits (if any) and stressful working conditions are the main reasons why hospitality workers are not returning to their pre-pandemic jobs.
Just over 50% of respondents said they had changed industries to look for another job, 45% said their decision was driven by the need for better pay, and 29% wanted better benefits. About 20% said they wanted more flexibility, and 16% said they wanted to work remotely.
One former chef told Insider that after closing restaurants and finding time to go back to school, he traded in his 80-hour kitchen job for a new career in software development.
After years of paying much lower wages than other industries, the hospitality industry is now facing a serious labor shortage as customers return after months of absence and demand increases. Some companies now have to consider salary increases for traditionally low-paid positions.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment report for June showed that the average wage in the leisure and hospitality industry for non-managerial workers was $15.84 per hour in May, but that rate rose to $16.21 in June. The Washington Post noted that it usually takes a full year to see this kind of wage growth.
Some companies have taken steps to attract new employees by offering incentives, including hiring bonuses and free housing, fitness equipment and iPhones. Yet they struggle to fill vacancies quickly enough.
The leisure and hospitality sector reportedly added 343,000 jobs in June, but employment figures for the sector are 2.2 million, or 12.9%, lower than in February 2020.
The Federal Reserve expects the labor shortage to persist for months, while Bank of America expects the labor market to have recovered sufficiently by early 2022.
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