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The Forecast is Bleak

Jackie Carpenter 10/14/21

The labor crisis is causing problems for many industries, but the hospitality industry is getting hit especially hard. In August, 4.3 million people quit their jobs…of that, 892,000 were hospitality workers, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This is 6.8 percentmore than twice the national average rate of 2.9 percent. Many of the workers who quit cited poor treatment from customers and managers as well as unsatisfactory pay as reasons for leaving the industry.

As if the news wasn’t bad enough, one survey reported that more than half of restaurant workers reported having been abused by customers or managers and many said they planned to flee the industry because of it, according to an article in Insider. Another survey reported that 58% of restaurant and hotel employees said they planned to quit their jobs by the end of the year.

The shortage of workers isn’t only challenging because of the vacant positions not being filled, it also takes its toll on the people who are currently working in those hospitality organizations. Coworkers and managers are working harder, longer hours and taking on more responsibility to cover for the lack of workers. The remaining people are burnt-out, stressed out and probably considering leaving the industry too.

Then add to the fact that right now people in general are frustrated and grumpy. COVID is still hanging around and supply shortages are frustrating. Customers are taking out their frustration on employees when service is slow or they can’t get what they ordered/expected. More than 60 club general managers at a recent seminar agreed that employees are exhausted and members are frustrated. It’s a rough time and there’s no magic wand to resolve this situation anytime soon.

What can we do about it?! As leaders and executives, show appreciation to the workers you do have. Celebrate their hard work, recognize your people and reward them in any way you can. Help communicate to members the importance of being kind, patient and understanding of the situation (because their rants and complaints are NOT going to help matters!). Review wages and employee benefits and do what you can to boost salaries and/or add perks to their jobs. Most importantly, cut your department heads and managers some slack. They are running on empty, doing hard work and dealing with a lot right now.  

While the forecast does seem to be bleak, the key is to be aware, informed, agile and proactive.