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3 key recruitment challenges in hospitality in 2024

As we move rapidly through 2024, the hospitality industry continues to find itself grappling with three key recruitment challenges; namely candidate shortage and behaviour, client and company behaviour, and job security.  The sector has certainly faced its fair share of hurdles when it comes to hiring, so are these challenges new, or just a continuation of what we’ve seen in the past? 

 

Let’s take a look at each of these recruitment challenges currently facing the sector:

 

1.        Candidate Shortage and Behaviour

 

It probably comes as no surprise to those trying to hire, that candidate shortages continue to be a constant issue, particularly at the entry level. The lack of individuals willing to fill these roles is proving to be a frustration and limitation to business’ abilities to perform effectively and grow. Chefs are continuing to be hard to find, driving up costs and exacerbating the strain on hospitality businesses.

 

But scarcity isn’t the only thorn in the industry’s side; it's the behaviour shown by many potential candidates that compounds the problem. From no-shows at interviews to unreturned calls and the increasing problem of ghosting, the lack of professionalism among applicants is disheartening, to say the least. We’ve discussed no-shows in previous blogs and the potential psychology behind this. Regrettably, there seems to be no silver lining on the horizon, as this trend shows no signs of abating. We are resigned to the fact that the only way to deal with it is sadly to accept it is now part of society’s attitude in general. My doctor’s surgery had 100 no-shows for appointments in March – unbelievable when all you hear in the media is that people can’t get an appointment! There is no consequence to people’s actions, so sadly it will continue.

 

2.        Client and Company Behaviour

 

While much attention is rightfully paid to how some candidates are conducting themselves, we must also look at both sides of the coin and more frequently, the behaviour of some hiring companies within the industry. Sadly, increasingly companies are also guilty of ghosting prospective employees, leaving recruitment consultants and individuals in a state of limbo. The lack of feedback post-interview is at best troubling and can quickly tarnish the employer's brand, whilst also leaving candidates in a state of uncertainty and recruiters, who are trying their best, incredibly frustrated.

 

Companies also need to find a delicate balance of looking after their staff’s wellbeing while also meeting demand. The plight of chefs in particular highlights the gravity of the current situation. We are still hearing all-too-often about gruelling work hours, even after all the talk of the need to create a better work-life balance, and so the vicious cycle of short-staffing continues to perpetuate this situation.

 

3.        Job Security

 

Sadly, job security has emerged as a particularly pressing concern for employees in 2024. The number of hospitality businesses shuttering their doors looms large, leaving many employees in the lurch. From independents failing to meet payroll obligations to the abrupt closures orchestrated by administrators, the hospitality landscape is no-longer the sturdy pillar of job security it once was. Workers are now questioning their allegiance to the industry and considering alternative industries and career paths.

 

The lure of stable employment offered by larger companies in alternative sectors, such as Amazon, is luring more workers away from the sector and further exacerbating the candidate shortages we’ve already mentioned.

 

A Glimmer of Hope Amidst the Storm

 

And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom - there are pockets of resilience within the industry. Up-and-coming brands, fuelled by innovation and investment, offer a glimmer of optimism for the future of the industry. These companies are defying the odds, expanding their footprint and breathing new life into the industry. We have clients acquiring new sites, opening new sites, refurbishing others and having CapEx projects going through - so there are success stories out there.

 

The recruitment challenges facing the hospitality industry in 2024 are undeniably daunting for everyone: recruiters, job seekers and employers alike. From candidate scarcity and erratic behaviour to the prospect of job insecurity, the road ahead is fraught with obstacles. However, by confronting these challenges head-on, planning ahead, and embracing innovation, the hospitality industry can navigate these choppy waters and hopefully emerge stronger on the other side.


After all, it is an incredibly resilient and determined industry, just like the people working in it!

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