The ongoing shortage of skilled workers dominated conversation as Tourism HR Canada President and CEO Philip Mondor presented the latest labour market intelligence at the Choice Hotels Canada Fall Conference, held October 11 at the Fallsview Casino and Resort, Niagara Falls.
For the lunch presentation, Help Wanted: Current Issues and Practical Strategies, Philip shared the most current data on the chronic shortage of workers and its impact on hotels in Canada.
- Two out of three accommodation businesses report the shortage of workers as a significant impediment, impacting growth, causing staff burnout, and increasing operating costs.
- These businesses are seeing significant growth and demand for services, but are hampered by a lack of workers.
- Businesses are also facing a need for increased skills, especially at the management and executive levels.
- The increasingly tight labour market means growing competition for workers across economic sectors.
- The dwindling supply of youth, which historically has been a key source of accommodations workers, is leading to a growing need to further diversify the workforce and attract under-represented groups.
- Studies predict 33% growth in full-time jobs in the hotel industry by 2035, making it attractive for many and different than the trend towards more part-time, casual, and impermanent employment.
The lunch presentation was followed up with a working session, Tackling Hospitality’s Labour Shortage: Solutions for Change, on how to address the issues. Attendees explored how the problem could be addressed at various levels, including political/policy, institutional/business, and individual.
Of note, the group discussed:
- strategic and practical solutions, such as improving the use of comprehensive labour market information, forecasting current and future skills needs, increasing career and worker pathways, and positioning the sector as a destination for employment;
- the new Destination Employment program—jointly launched by Tourism HR Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada—focused on employing and training newcomers to Canada in accommodations jobs across the country;
- the potential of tapping into international students and new strategies to work with Indigenous groups; and
- twelve tips to help employers deal with the problem immediately.