Problems inTourism

Problems in tourism

140,000 people leave their jobs in hospitality and tourism every year

Many people in the UK blame Brexit for the lack of staff required for hospitality…but consider a country like Austria that depends heavily on hospitality and tourism.

A new study in Austria shows that in no other industry is staff turnover as high as in tourism. The working conditions and demands of guests are to blame.

The tourism sector has a great deal of political influence in Austria and can regularly make their wishes heard. Since the end of the pandemic and the abrupt return of holiday makers, representatives of the domestic tourism industry have been concerned above all with one question: Where have all the workers gone?

At regular intervals, the Chamber of Commerce complains about the lack of skilled workers of all kinds, starting with cooks and waiters, and calls for help from politicians.

But how big are the challenges in the hospitality and tourism industry? Are the working conditions so bad that too few people can be found to work in catering and hotels, or do the problems lie elsewhere? A study presented Monday by the research institute IHS sheds new light on these questions and the debates behind them. Commissioned by the former Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, whose agendas have since been transferred to several other ministries, IHS economist Dominik Walch surveyed the tourism labor market and the flows of employees behind it. The data the economist obtained from social security agencies provides insights into where the industry’s problems come from.

For example, the tourism sector employed, on average, about 264,000 people in 2022. However, the number of different employees working in the sector at some point during a year is much higher and amounted to about 500,000 people per year.

How does this high figure come about? Tourism is a seasonal industry, peaks have to be covered in summer and winter, plus its own peaks on weekends and holidays when staffing levels go through the roof with temporary and seasonal workers. But on top of that – and this is where it gets exciting in terms of labor shortages – staff turnover is enormously high.

A quarter leave

Indeed, a good quarter of the appromimately 500,000 employees,  leave the sector for good every year. So these people looked for a job elsewhere or stopped working altogether or did not return to Austria after seasonal employment.

What were the consequences ? In terms of overall employment in the sector, basically everything remained the same, employment increased only very slightly overall, again just over half a million people were employed in tourism and hospitality. But to reach this level, a good 140,000 new workers had to be found in 2019 for example. That also succeeded. But it is this huge rotation, says study author Walch, that ensures that debates about the labor shortage in the industry are so loud:

In no other sector does a quarter of the workforce have to be replaced year after year! The question is, can the problem be solved?

Translated from the German – Source: Der Standard – Andras Szigètvari

Photo: Pixabay

Problems inTourism
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