Hotel staff shortage ‘mounting risk’

Hotel staff shortage ‘mounting risk’

Shortages of qualified staff for the hotel industry could scupper the growth of Irish tourism, with a “mounting risk” that demand for workers will outstrip supply, writes Pádraig Hoare.

That was the claim from job recruitment website Jobs.ie, which undertook a study of positions in the sector over the past five years.

Jobs vacancies in the hotel sector have increased by nearly 200% between 2013 and 2017, said Jobs.ie. It said the hotel and guesthouse sector is worth €7.2bn to the Irish economy and supports an estimated 235,000 jobs.

There was an increase in vacancies for hotel chefs, bartenders, waiters, receptionists, porters, and concierges. Every role has experienced growth in the last five years, particularly since 2016. Vacancies for hotel chefs increased by 149% in the five years.

Jobs.ie general manager Christopher Paye said the hotel sector had shown “remarkable resilience” despite the negative impact of Brexit, but that it could again be threatened.

“There is a mounting risk that demand for workers will outstrip supply, and this is already proving the case for chefs. With skills shortages left unaddressed, the growth of Ireland’s tourism industry will be short-lived. Hotels will need to think outside the box to attract talented workers from overseas and encourage more Irish professionals to consider a career in hospitality.”

He called for a public consultation between the Government and hotel industry “to ensure that we are pre-empting and tackling these shortages before they arise”.

Earlier this month, Business Minister Heather Humphreys announced the removal of some restrictions on chefs from outside the EU working in Ireland.

The restaurant industry has said there is an annual shortage of 7,000 chefs.

Despite the restaurant industry benefiting from the reduced Vat rate, going from 13.5% to 9% in 2011, it has lobbied for more concessions, including a reduction in commercial rates, freezing the national minimum wage until 2021, and a reduction in wine excise.

The cost of hotel stays grew sharply in February. According to CSO figures, the cost of accommodation for consumers rose 5.2% last month, and was up 4.4% in the past 12 months.

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