HR Issues

April 30, 2012

Written by: Curt Archambault

Insights for the hospitality field from a leading human resource development agency

Not talking about the Aztec calendar here, but the end of abundant candidates to fill the entry-level positions in restaurants, hotels and resorts. The employment market is changing and the years of hundreds of qualified applicants to fill each position are going to become rarer with each passing month.

Not too many years ago, the hospitality industry was struggling to find employees just to fill all the open positions (let alone find quality employees). According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in April of 2005 the industry hit a peak of 683,000 job openings in the industry. That was followed by the next three years of over 600,000. This dropped dramatically starting in May of 2008 when the number of openings began to slide.

Many Companies chose to decrease benefits and salary without focusing on employee engagement. Applicants were beating down the doors for jobs…they went from being the hunted to the hunter.

So why the alarmist headline?

The data we are seeing now is going to spark celebrations when comparing revenue performance over prior year. The challenge is to not get too complacent because as this economy heats up…staffing is going to get tough.

If you look back you will find many Internet postings like these two talking about the challenging labor market the industry faced just a few short years ago:

Staffing to become herculean task: as the service sector’s largest employer, foodservice finds itself influenced by thinning labor ranks to eye new recruitment methods

Top Ten Issues in the Hospitality Industry for 2007 International Society of Hospitality Consultants

These articles reflect the serious staffing crisis and CEO’s viewed staffing as either a # 1 or #2 priority. The challenge was we had great demand for products and services, but nobody to help deliver those products and services. That leads to declining top line results.

Today’s smart companies project out the next few years and understand that today’s great staffing environment is going to change quickly. The most recent job opening statistics show the number of openings in Jan 2012 at over 100K more than the three preceding years. Add to that the recent information about the current job market and you will come to the same conclusion…it is going to get tough, sooner rather than later.

These two articles are excellent examples of what I am talking about.

   Employers posted more job openings in February
   10 Reasons the Human Capital Zeitgeist Is Emerging

The workforce pool is becoming depleted, resulting in a more competitive environment for employees. What are you doing to create a competitive advantage with it comes to employee engagement? Are you prepared for the end of easy hiring and staffing, as we know it? If not now, when? You have been warned…

Curt Archambault is the Vice President for People and Performance Strategies and has over 30 years of experience in the training and development/performance consulting field for the hospitality industry. Mr. Archambault is responsible for business development as well as working with emerging and mid-size organizations seeking the right talent selection, training, development and HR practices to achieve the next level of growth.

Mr. Archambault experience includes having been responsible for a team of consultants charged with improving operational performance at client companies. He has initiated and led numerous personal and performance improvement strategies resulting in demonstrated growth at all levels. In addition, he has been a speaker on both the local and national level specializing in topics such as Return on Investment, Leading a Strategic Training function, and Executing First Class Guest Service.

Mr. Archambault is a member and past President for the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART). He majored in Business Management and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.


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