The U.S. unemployment rate has been dropping since the great recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, but the number of people unable to find a decent job remains extremely high.
Why, then, are so many hotels facing continued staffing challenges?
The major problem is that most hospitality jobs can’t just be filled with “bodies.” The majority of positions call for qualified workers who are either experienced or extremely dedicated, and those are the employees who are difficult to find because they’re in such high demand.
Add two other factors into the equation, non-stop corporate pressure to lower expenses (which impacts the pay and benefits which can be offered to candidates) and declining occupancy rates which haven’t fully recovered since the recession, and you have the perfect storm for the continuing hospitality staffing challenges which affect many hotels.
An interesting and cost-effective answer to the problem has emerged in recent years: hospitality staffing agencies.
Full- and Part-Time Hospitality Staffing Solutions
Most people are familiar with what staffing agencies do. They recruit, screen and hire employees for their client companies, and send the workers to the clients’ workplaces to function as regular staff members even though they’re actually employed and paid by the agency.
It’s a good deal for clients because they can simply specify what employees they need without having to worry about vetting, hiring and payroll details. They only have to pay the agency a monthly fee for each worker. It’s also a good deal for the agencies, because they can focus on recruitment, hiring and personnel administration and not the day-to-day operation of any other business.
General staffing agencies in Chicago, Los Angeles or New York, for example, are able to supply workers for hotels in those cities. However, they have a split focus since they’re not just recruiting bartenders and front-of-house personnel, but they’re also hiring assembly line and office workers for clients in other industries. That’s not the ideal method for finding the best-qualified hospitality personnel.
Enter the new kid on the block: hospitality staffing agencies. They’re not searching for or interviewing manufacturing or clerical workers at the same time they’re hiring banquet captains and housekeepers; their only mission is finding the best hotel workers possible. As you’ll see, that works to the benefit of hospitality industry clients.
Advantages of Using Hospitality Staffing Agencies
We’ve mentioned the enormous competition that exists for highly-qualified hotel employees. Agencies which specialize in hiring for the hospitality industry hold the upper hand when recruiting those workers, because they have many more attractive positions to fill than do individual hotels or general staffing agencies, and are able to devote more time to developing contacts and networking in the industry. They also serve as a “magnet” to which many applicants are automatically drawn.
Another major advantage is that many hospitality staffing agencies create and conduct skills testing for prospective employees, ensuring that only qualified applicants make it all the way through the hiring process. This is a natural outgrowth of a specialized staffing agency’s screening process, but often requires more time and resources than clients may be able spend on their own.
Finally, complete hospitality staffing solutions provide the tangible financial benefits we’ve discussed earlier, including budget savings and cost certainties not possible when company HR staffers are recruiting, screening, hiring and administering an ever-changing workforce.
It’s easy to understand why these hospitality staffing agencies are growing in size and popularity throughout the industry.