3 Strategies for Solving Hospitality Recruitment Challenges with Technology

Amongst travel and hospitality recruitment challenges is a clear and persistent issue: staffing shortages. Talent leaders are struggling to fill empty roles amid low unemployment rates.

According to a 2023 survey by Deloitte, more than half of hotel executives (53%) say their properties have between 25–74% of the workforce they had in 2019. The situation at airports is even tighter with 62% of executives saying their workforce is half its prepandemic size or smaller.

On top of this, the unemployment rate sits at 3.8% in the U.S., 4.3% in the UK and 3.7% in Australia. The travel industry also saw a massive exodus of workers. In 2022, there were record quit rates during the Great Resignation, with the quit rate in leisure and hospitality jumping by a percentage point to 6.4%. So, how can talent leaders hire hospitality and travel workers when the available pool is smaller?

Luckily, the right technology solutions deployed at the right times during the recruitment process can help talent leaders source, attract and screen candidates to find the best talent more efficiently and effectively. In this article, we’ll cover three technology interventions that talent acquisition teams can put into place to tackle hospitality recruitment challenges.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 1: Our open positions receive few applicants, and many of those who do apply do not have the background or experience needed to succeed in the role.

Solution No. 1: Invest in artificial intelligence sourcing technology to fill the top of your funnel.

Amongst common hospitality recruitment challenges that we see is finding talent with a wide variety of specialised skills across diverse and distant geographies. There is no one-size-fits all approach to hiring travel and hospitality talent. Finding a chef for a luxury property in Lake Como, Italy will look very different from a search for housekeeping staff at a family resort in Orlando, Florida. Finding a flight attendant looks very different from filling a baggage handler role.

With such a tight talent market, employers must target passive talent. During the Great Rehire talent leaders focused on filling roles as quickly as possible, but now they need to focus on finding and hiring more experienced workers.

An AI-enabled candidate sourcing tool can identify passive candidates with the right experience for specific roles and can even identify which candidates would be most likely to leave their current employers. Within seconds, recruiters can build a list of these candidates and share the opportunity. PeopleScout’s talent acquisition suite, AffinixTM, includes the AI sourcing feature, Talent Finder, which can connect employers with millions of passive candidates.

Consider the following best practices for using an AI sourcing tool:

  • Before searching for candidates, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the technical and soft skills needed to be successful in the role.
  • Use features, like PeopleScout’s Diversity Boost, that can identify candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to help meet your DE&I goals.
  • Blend AI with the human touch. By having a recruiter reach out to a sourced candidate with a personalised message, employers can create a positive experience.
  • Make sure a human makes all final hiring decisions. AI can make the process more efficient, but hiring managers should make the final call.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 2: Candidates drop out of our process before reaching the offer stage, either by abandoning the application or ghosting the interview.

Solution No. 2: Improve the candidate experience by making the process quick and easy by embracing tools like SMS or virtual interviews.

Hospitality employers must ensure that their candidate experience sets them apart from other employers at every stage of the candidate journey. For candidates, how they’re treated during the hiring process is a preview of what their experience will be as an employee.

PeopleScout research shows that the hospitality industry has a lot of room for improvement in this area. In our analysis of the candidate experience of more than 215 different organisations, the hospitality sector came in last overall with the lowest average scores in every stage except Follow-Up (in which it was second to last). While hospitality organisations effectively showcased their diversity and inclusion efforts on their career sites, only half gave candidates the opportunity to register their interest.

Your candidate experience should be unique to your brand and help you distinguish yourself from other employers hiring for similar roles or skills. Many talent acquisition teams don’t appreciate that candidates don’t perceive the recruitment process as a funnel. They’re the main character in their own story, and they expect to be treated that way. Candidates want to engage in their job search on their own terms. So, anytime they encounter a roadblock to getting the information they want, especially if they don’t know what to expect in the next stage, they’re more likely to drop out of your process.

There are several ways to leverage  technology to make the process easier for candidates. First, start with a shortened application. According to PeopleScout research, nearly 40% of organisations asked candidates to duplicate information that was already contained in their resume or CV. Make sure your application only collects the information that is most critical for determining who moves along to the next step of the process.

From there, other technology solutions can be used to gather the additional information necessary to make a hiring decision. SMS can be used for an initial text screening, and virtual interviews, like those available in Affinix, allow candidates to answer additional questions at their own pace while feeling as though they’re driving the process.

Finally, automated communication can keep a candidate engaged in the process. The right technology platform can help by sending automated messages to candidates, via email or chatbot technology, updating them on their application status. You can even craft messages letting a candidate know if they did not get the job, so they aren’t left wondering if you ghosted them.

Consider the following best practices for using technology to improve your candidate experience:

  • Make sure your application is mobile-friendly and can be filled out in 10 minutes or less. Test your current application to see how long it takes to apply.
  • Provide candidates with the opportunity to opt-in to receive text messages or emails from your organisation to remain in compliance with local spam laws.
  • Tailor the type of virtual interview to the type of role. While video interviews may be appropriate for customer-facing roles, others may prefer the opportunity to answer questions with recorded audio.
  • Make it simple for candidates to understand where they are in your process; this can be something as simple as a progress bar.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 3: Our assessment process isn’t effective at identifying the candidates most likely to succeed in the role, leading to increased turnover, reduced productivity and disengaged employees.

Solution No. 3: Assess candidates for passion, purpose and mindset.

The travel and hospitality industry is all about guest experience, and hotels, airlines, restaurants and theme parks differentiate themselves with the unique experience that they provide. So, talent leaders need to find candidates who not only have the right skills and experience but also a deep understanding of the brand and how it is reflected in the service provided.

For example, in a major city, you may find three hotels on the same street, one catering to a high-end luxury experience in a historic building, another geared toward young travellers with bold art and hit music playing in the lobby, and a third designed with business travellers in mind—with a large business centre, meeting rooms and plenty of quiet spaces for someone to plug in their laptop. Many hotel brands even have this variety of styles within their own portfolios. The service provided in each hotel looks different, and a person who excels at a luxury property may not thrive in a trendy hotel.

By selecting the right assessment tool, employers can go beyond looking at just capability, behaviour and results but also determine whether candidates align with their organisation’s purpose, have passion for the work they would do and whether they have the mindset to adapt to new environments.

By building an assessment during pre-screening that accounts for passion, purpose and mindset in addition to the standard skills and experience, employers can use technology to shortlist candidates based on several different attributes at the same time. This way, employers can get a clear picture of the different strengths and weaknesses of candidates in order to make informed decisions about which candidates are best to bring forward to the interview stage.

By identifying candidates who match well with an employer’s brand of guest experience, talent leaders can reduce turnover and build a happier, more engaged team. In turn, that leads to better customer experience and a better bottom line.

Consider the following best practices for building an effective assessment for hospitality talent:

  • Identify the essential behaviours for the role to separate those who will actually be successful from those who simply present well during an interview.
  • Build assessment tools around your organisation’s vision and values so applicants have a chance to form a connection to them from the start.
  • Self-evaluation tools can also be used to help applicants consider their own strengths and whether the role will offer sufficient opportunity to use and demonstrate them.
  • Distinguish between good candidates who meet the criteria and great candidates who will take an organisation further.

Finding the Right Talent Technology for Hospitality

The travel and hospitality industry still faces an uphill climb in returning to or even exceeding their prepandemic staffing levels, but talent leaders have additional and improved tools available to help identify, attract and screen candidates. However, in a full marketplace, finding the right tools can be a challenge. Consider partnering with an RPO with expertise in technology that can help identify the most impactful ways new tools can solve your most pressing hospitality recruitment challenges.

Get more strategies for attracting and hiring hospitality, travel and tourism talent, with our Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality.

Checking In: Updating Your Hospitality Recruitment Strategies for the New World of Work

Travel is back, but hospitality employers are still playing catch up. Holiday-makers around the world are booking flights, checking into hotel rooms, making reservations and buying tickets. Brands are attracting customers but struggling to attract employees with the right hospitality recruitment strategies.

In 2020, the size of the global tourism market fell by nearly a trillion dollars as travel came to a halt. The industry finally surpassed its prepandemic highs in 2023, reaching a market size of $2.3 trillion (USD). But employment in the industry lags behind. In Australia, demand for hospitality staff has increased 13%.

The old hospitality recruitment strategies aren’t working anymore. The world of work has changed.  Many sectors have expanded the availability of remote and hybrid work, and many front-line hospitality workers left the industry for more flexible roles.

Employers must update their employer branding and candidate attraction strategies to draw in top hospitality talent. In this article, we cover the hospitality brain drain and provide tactics that talent leaders can put into place now to get ahead of the competition.

The Hospitality Industry Brain Drain

One of the largest lasting impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic is the permanent loss of talent.  as workers fled the travel and hospitality industry for more stable, more flexible or less customer-facing positions. While employment in the hospitality sector still lags, professional and business services saw 1.4 million new jobs added during the pandemic.

Rather than returning to employment in hotels or with airlines, many laid off workers looked for behind-the-scenes office work where they were offered more flexibility, more traditional hours and often higher pay. With record quit rates during the Great Resignation, attrition in the leisure and hospitality sector jumped by a whole percentage point to 6.4%.

This phenomenon, sometimes called “brain drain,” has left hospitality employers with not just fewer workers but also those with less experience. This has led to increased competition for experienced hospitality workers and often increased time-to-fill rates for more specialised hospitality roles. Talent leaders must work to coax experienced workers back to the industry while also focusing on the next generation. Below, we outline three strategies to bring back and bring in hospitality talent.

Top 3 Hospitality Recruitment Strategies

1. It’s Time to Update Your Employer Brand

In today’s talent market, hospitality employers need to stand out in a crowded field of competition. Your employer value proposition and employer brand will be what convinces top talent to join your organisation, rather than the hotel down the street or the customer service job that will allow them to take calls from their home offices.

However, after the past several years, few have had the resources to invest in and update their employer brands. If you haven’t refreshed your employer brand in a few years, now is the time. Each hospitality brand has its own distinctive personality and style that should be reflected in both consumer marketing and employer branding.

Your employer value proposition, or EVP, is the foundation of your employer brand. Your EVP describes the give and get between employer and employee. At PeopleScout, our EVP work has five phases:

  1. Define
  2. Discover
  3. Develop
  4. Design
  5. Deploy

In the define stage, we build a baseline understanding of you and your competition through competitor audits, social listening, candidate experience diagnostics and collaborative sessions. In the discover phase, we go deeper to understand what makes your organisation unique through interviews with leaders and employees throughout the organisation.

From there, we analyse the data and develop an EVP prototype that we validate through workshops and interviews with employees. In the design phase, we create the creative concepts to bring your EVP to life with an employer brand playbook and employer brand toolkit. These include deliverables like EVP positioning and messaging, social media posts and ads, and printed materials like posters and exhibition stands for job fairs.

Finally, we deploy, focusing on an employee ambassador program that helps your current employees share their stories with prospective candidates. From there, your EVP and brand can flex and evolve to adapt to changing candidate expectations.

By honing your employer value proposition and attraction messaging, you can zero in the characteristics you need for the variety of roles you need filled. By shifting your mindset from focusing on getting the most applications, or even those with certain experience, to getting applications with the right profile, you can reduce attrition by increasing the likelihood of your new hires being successful.

2. Are Your Offers and Benefits Competitive?

The leisure and hospitality sector has seen some of the highest wage increases across all employers in recent years. In the U.S., wages in hospitality have risen 23% over the past three years. Additionally, workers have more options for hybrid or flexible work in other industries where the pay is similar or even higher. This makes it more difficult for hospitality employers to compete. According to the Boston Hospitality Review, compensation was one of the most cited reasons that people left the hospitality industry during the pandemic.

To stand out in this market, you need offers that are not only competitive in terms of salary but also provide the types of flexibility and benefits that candidates are looking for and can likely find in other industries. Hospitality candidates are increasingly interested in remote work. Google searches for “remote hotel jobs” have increased about 400% since 2019.

Many hospitality jobs require being on site, making hybrid work only possible for a small percentage of roles; however, employers should evaluate and offer the option when possible. Additionally, consider flexible work arrangements or scheduling that would allow front-line workers time to do things like pick children up from school.

Other benefits can also help bring in or bring back hospitality workers. While 88% of employees say that health benefits are important to them, only 30% of restaurants offer medical insurance. Not every employer will have the budget for health insurance, so consider other benefits, like caregiver benefits, parental leave or a commuting allowance.

You can also consider different compensation models. Consider a salaried front-of-house staff. According to Monster, employers who pay their front of house staff a salary gain an advantage for attracting top talent, and those workers create a better customer experience because they aren’t focused on “turn-and-burn” tactics. You can also consider profit sharing or bonuses to help attract and retain employees.

3. Focus on Culture

Your company culture may not be listed as a line item on a payslip, but it can serve as a benefit for attracting top talent in a tough industry. In any customer-facing role, employees can be subject to stressful situations, but a supportive culture can increase employee retention.

One survey found that 91% of hospitality workers have dealt with customers who believed they inherently deserved privileges or special treatment. Of those workers, 70% wanted to leave the industry entirely after confronting a demanding consumer. Employers need to ensure that they not only meet customer expectations but also keep workers happy and focus on retention.

Hospitality employers should focus on building a supportive culture. This should start from day one with structured training and can include things like mentorship programs to support new employees and help them feel like part of the team. Additionally, consider adding wellness programs that include things like counselling or employee assistance programs.

Finally, the travel and hospitality sector has a unique opportunity to build a fun culture by creating ways for employees to enjoy the services normally provided to guests. This can look like VIP perks for employees and their friends and families, discounted meals or free meals during shifts, yearly overnight stays at hotels to celebrate work anniversaries or discounted tickets to events.

Choosing the Right Hospitality Recruiting Strategies

Candidate expectations are always changing, so hospitality employers need to find the recruitment strategies that work best to attract the right candidates at the right time. An experienced RPO provider can help talent leaders narrow down the best solutions and help build an employer brand to bring in top talent with the right skills and mindset.

To get more strategies for attracting and hiring hospitality, travel and tourism talent, download our Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality.

The Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality

Green Jobs, Green Skills: Hiring for a Renewable Future 

The future of work is green. According to the United Nations, the global economy is undergoing a “greening,” as industries like energy, transportation and construction adopt more sustainable practices. That process could create 24 million more jobs globally by 2030, putting workers with green skills in high demand.  

However, supply has not kept up, even as the need for green skills spills into other industries like economics and finance, security, market and geopolitical analysis, communications, social sciences, and legal.  

In this article, we’ll explore the drivers for green jobs and the need for green skills, which green skills are in the highest demand and how employers can find and hire top green talent.  

What are Green Jobs? 

So, what qualifies as a “green job?” According to the International Labour Organisation, “Green jobs reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and pollution, protect and restore ecosystems, and enable enterprises and communities to adapt to climate change.” 

Demand for green skills is outpacing the supply. According to LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report, between 2022 and 2023, job postings requiring at least one green skill rose 22.4% while the share of green talent in the workforce only grew 12.3%. 

hiring for green skills is growing fast

What’s causing the shift? According to the World Economic Forum, many countries are working to achieve net zero by 2050. This means that both governments and businesses are driving the green transition.  

green job growth

So far, the majority of green job growth has come in some of the highest polluting industries, such as energy and transportation, and in some of the countries that produce the most greenhouse gases.  

The U.S., Germany and India, countries that emit some of the highest amounts of greenhouse gasses, are leading the way in green jobs. According to the World Economic Forum, Germany is adopting more green skills in the manufacturing industry, and the U.S. and India are outpacing other countries in both oil and gas and mining.   

120 

For every 100 workers who leave the renewable energy sector, 120 join. (LinkedIn) 

 

10X 

There were 10 times the number of green jobs in the U.S. compared to the fossil fuel industry by 2019. (Source) 

 

16.5M 

There are now 16.5 million electric vehicles on the road. (LinkedIn)
(Source: LinkedIn, Global Citizen, LinkedIn)

But the need for green jobs goes beyond installing solar panels and building electric vehicles. According to LinkedIn, one of the most important sectors in sustainability is finance, and it is lagging behind. In the fight against climate change, huge investments will need to be made in things like wind farms and electric vehicle charging stations, and financial professionals will be in the spotlight. Despite that, only 6.8% of finance workers globally have green skills. However, there are signs of change. Between 2021 and 2022, the percentage of green jobs in finance grew 17%. 

With increasing competition for green talent, employers need to have an in-depth understanding of the most in-demand green skills and how to attract, hire and train top talent.  

What are Green Skills?  

It is easy to mistakenly associate certain green skills to specific industries. Unlike the ability to set a broken bone, which will qualify a worker for a job in healthcare but isn’t relevant if they’re applying for a role with a law firm, green skills are different.  Think of green skills more like tech and digital skills in their ability to be applied across a wide range of industries. For example, carbon accounting, or estimating the carbon footprint of different organisations, can play an important role in a variety of industries, from consulting to waste management.  While there might be a concentration of workers with green skills in green industries, those skills are in demand across the global economy.  

According to LinkedIn, the fastest growing green skill in the EU is climate action planning. A climate action plan is “a framework document for measuring, tracking and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adopting climate adaptation measures.”  

Climate action plans exist for a variety of organisations. For example, they exist at the government level, for international organisations like the World Bank, Fortune 500 companies and more. This means employers are competing for candidates across industries.  

There are many green skills that are required for jobs in industries not considered green. For example, according to LinkedIn, a knowledge of energy efficiency could be necessary for roles like a plumbing engineer, utilities manager, vice president of facilities or HVAC specialist.   

So, what are the most in demand green skills? It depends on where you are. In the U.S., carbon accounting, drinking water quality and energy engineering are seeing some of the fastest growth. While in the EU, sustainability education and carbon emissions round out the top three after climate action planning.  

fastest growing green skills in the eurpean union

How to Hire for Green Skills  

To meet their own hiring and sustainability goals, employers need to understand where to find candidates with in-demand green skills, how to attract them and how to train green-adjacent workers to help fill skills gaps. Here, we cover three options for employers struggling to fill green roles.  

1. Skills-Based Hiring  

Skills based hiring sounds simple—hiring people based on skills rather than previous job titles. However, according to SHRM, it requires a commitment to change. Traditionally, many jobs list requirements like specific degrees or years of experience that are used to determine if candidates are ready to take on a role.  

According to one survey, more than 80% of employers believe they should prioritise skills over degrees. Yet, 52% are still hiring from degree programs because it’s considered a less risky choice. This means that especially in entry- and mid-level roles, candidates with the right skills could be overlooked for failing to meet these specific requirements.  

Research shows that adopting a skills-based hiring strategy can yield significant improvements to an organisation’s talent acquisition program—increasing quality of hire, expanding the talent pool, increasing diversity and improving employee retention.  

Transitioning to a skills-based hiring process requires a culture change, a transformation in thinking from the top down—from senior leadership to hiring managers—and updates to many aspects of the recruitment process.  

One of the most important steps is updating the screening or assessment process. Rather than eliminating candidates who lack certain degrees or years of experience, develop criteria and assessments that objectively measure the skills necessary for the job. Then, screen candidates in rather than screening them out. An RPO provider with talent advisory capabilities can assist organisations moving to a skills-based screening and assessment strategy. 

2. Green Adjacent Skills and Gateway Jobs 

Additionally, employers can build gateway jobs and look for candidates with green adjacent skills.  

Gateway jobs are roles that can serve as steppingstones and give workers the opportunity to gain the green skills they’ll need for a green career. According to the LinkedIn report, one example of a gateway job is in supply chain management. As the industry looks to reduce its carbon emissions, workers are developing the green skills to do the job, even though they may not have had them when they were hired. In fact, 41% of workers who move into gateway jobs have no prior green experience.  

An effective strategy for hiring candidates for these gateway roles is looking for green adjacent skills. These are skills that don’t necessarily fall under the green umbrella but would give the candidate the ability to do many functions related to the role. For example, candidates with STEM and digital skills can go a long way toward helping an organisation reach its sustainability goals. Also, experience in industries currently undergoing a green transformation, like utilities, mining, transportation and agriculture can be applied to green jobs.  

How much more (or less) likely are workers who move into green and sustainability-related jobs to have certain skills?

To find these candidates, employers need a robust souring strategy to identify those with adjacent skills. The right technology solution can identify both active and passive candidates with specific skills, expanding the talent pipeline and predicting factors such as cultural fit, willingness to change companies and future tenure potential. 

3. Reskilling and Upskilling  

When hiring candidates with adjacent skills, employers must implement reskilling and upskilling programs to fill the skills gap.  

According to the World Economic Forum, nearly half of young workers believe they don’t have the right skillset to guarantee them an adequate job over the next decade. On top of that, sustainability transformations happen quickly, and without ongoing training, older workers could be left behind. The good news is that according to PwC, 77% of employees are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain in response to new technologies in the workplace.  

Reskilling and upskilling can happen at a few different levels, from government programs to higher education and private employers. However, organisations shouldn’t just rely on external programs. By building effective reskilling programs, businesses invest in services tailored to developing their own workforce while also assisting the global need for more sustainable work.  

A Renewable Future 

Setting up a green, sustainable future is everyone’s responsibility. As the demand for green skills increases, employers need effective solutions for finding, hiring and training top green talent. RPO providers, especially those with talent advisory services, can be a valuable resource for talent leaders looking to revamp their recruiting programs for a renewable future.  

For more insights on green skills in the energy sector, download our ebook, The Recruitment Handbook for Energy and Utilities.

Travel & Tourism Industry Recruitment is On the Road Again [Infographic]

When the pandemic struck the globe in 2020, the travel and tourism industry saw some of the biggest impacts worldwide, and the reverberations and recovery are still shaping the industry years later.  

Now, people are travelling again, but while many industries have recovered the jobs lost in 2020, tourism lags behind. The industry faces a new set of talent challenges, but employers have the opportunity to reshape their talent programs for the world of travel.   

Check out this infographic for insights on this transforming industry.

For more hospitality insights, download our ebook, The Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality.

The Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality

The Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality

5 Strategies for Recruiting the Best Travel and Hospitality Talent Now and into the Future

Through the job market volatility that has defined the hiring market for the past three years, the travel and hospitality industry saw some of the biggest impacts worldwide, and the reverberations and recovery are still shaping the industry years later.

While many industries have recovered the jobs lost in 2020, hospitality lags behind. While people are travelling again, the industry faces a new set of talent challenges, from a talent exodus to shifting traveller expectations. Now, employers have the opportunity to reshape their talent programs for the world of travel.

In this handbook, you’ll learn:

  • Global trends driving the need for travel and hospitality talent
  • Strategies for overcoming challenges in your travel and hospitality hiring programs
  • How partnering with an RPO provider can help