Monday, June 27

Free Flights and $ 1,000 Coupons: Australian Hotel Industry Attracts UK Workers | Hospitality industry

Chelsee Whitehead has worked in the hospitality industry since leaving high school four years ago. Before Covid-19, you always thought your industry was safe.

“I chose the hospitality industry because I thought it was an industry that would always be booming. I thought it was a sector that cannot be shaken, ”he says. “Then Covid happened and it changed that. It has made work unstable and has completely changed the environment. “

Currently having a multi-purpose job at a hotel in front desk, concierge, back of the house and customer service, Whitehead says she is lucky to still have a job. Following closures, job losses and exhaustion of international customers and workers, he says many hospitality workers who were once social and passionate about work have “left the industry entirely.”

The hospitality industry in Australia is suffering from a widespread staff shortage, caused in part by the closing of international borders and the departure of thousands of international students and holders of holiday and work visas who would normally make up a significant proportion of the force. labor.

Now, as many jurisdictions hope to reopen hospitality in the coming months, concerns about staff shortages are mounting.

Anticipating a major hospitality worker shortage as Australia reopens , Australian Venue Co, which operates more than 170 hotel establishments across the country, has launched an ambitious recruitment drive to attract 500 workers from the UK hospitality sector.

The group is trying to lure staff in with the promise of a $ 1,000 drink and dinner voucher, and will pay for their flights to Australia, hotel quarantine and two weeks of accommodation. Paid hospitality training will begin during the hotel quarantine.

AVC CEO Paul Waterson says that prior to the pandemic, roughly 20% of Australia’s hotel industry workforce were work and holiday visa holders.

“We had 4,200 employees,” he says. “Of these, 900 were holders of a work and vacation visa who returned home at the beginning of the pandemic.”

AVC proposes to pay moving costs to Australia for UK chefs, as well as Australians abroad looking to return home.

“Australian hospitality workers were stranded abroad at the start of the pandemic. His access to flights home and quarantine is challenging. “

The unit “will potentially organize charter flights.” Waterson says the AVC is in talks with state governments to allow those workers to return to Australia under quarantine.

Whitehead says that many hospitality workers, including International workers have been scared by Covid and the uncertainty it generated in the sector. “Even if borders are opened, people abroad will think twice about risking reaching Australia in uncertain times.”

“We work very hard in hospitality,” says Whitehead. “And we don’t earn that much. So I think that with the uncertainty, people are losing their taste and no longer see the point. “

The UK is facing its own hospitality staffing crisis, however, with reports that up to 50% of workers do not intend to return to their hospitality jobs after closures. Young people in the UK, however, “still see Australia as this kind of really fun and upbeat country,” says Whitehead. A similar culture in the UK and Australia makes it easier to integrate into each other’s hotel industries, he says. “And honestly, sometimes they come here just for the weather.”

“If this recruitment makes Australia feel welcoming again, it could excite young people abroad to gain experience working here.”

Although she is excited to see AVC’s recruitment drive, Whitehead does not believe that the shortage gap will “be completely filled again.”

Stephen Ferguson, National Executive Director of the Australian Hotel Association, tells Guardian Australia that young Australians and working tourists align with the “wet and dry seasons” of the Australian hotel industry.

“In the winter months, a lot of labor is needed in the north of the country. Also, in summer the opposite happens ”, says Ferguson. “They are the mobile workforce that is willing to go from Broome to the snow fields and the beaches of Sydney.”

Ferguson also doubts that the hiring drive “fills all his void.” However, he says that it does “show the great need that exists in the sector.” It also says that there is no shortage of work available for Australian hospitality workers.

“We fight for workers, but the hotel industry is resilient,” he says. “And we are social animals. Once the doors reopen, people will head back to the local pubs, clubs and cafes. The hospitality and tourism sector will continue to function and we will need hospitality workers, both from Australia and abroad.

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