Like many industries, the leisure and hospitality industry has been grappling with a talent shortage in recent years. In early 2023, nearly 2 million jobs in the hospitality sector were unfilled. Yet employers anticipate they will add over 500,000 new jobs by the end of the year. Finding and retaining skilled staff has become a major challenge for hoteliers, restaurant owners, and other businesses. However, amidst this dilemma, technology is emerging as a potential solution to address the hospitality talent shortage, particularly the use of AI for the recruitment and hiring of critical soft skills.
There are several contributing factors to the current hospitality talent shortage, including:
Shifting demographics: younger workers are pursuing careers in other industries which are seen to offer better job stability and growth opportunities.
Poor industry perception: negative impressions of the industry as one of long hours and poor working conditions deter many potential employees.
A lack of structured benefits: other industries may not offer higher base salaries but do offer better work-life balance, and more comprehensive benefits packages.
Seasonal pressures: peaks in demand can make it hard to attract and retain year-round talent and create additional pressure to find and train temporary staff.
Intense competition: businesses are not only competing with other hospitality employers for key skills but also with other industries.
How Tech Can Address the Current Hospitality Talent Shortage
Addressing the talent shortage is crucial for businesses to thrive and remain competitive in the dynamic hospitality landscape. Failing to do so can have negative effects on your business. A lack of skilled staff can mean:
- Poor customer experience
- Increased workloads
- Higher operational costs
- Reduced profitability
Technology has the potential to transform talent attraction and staffing in the hospitality sector in several ways:
1. Technology as a Talent Attraction Tool
Innovative recruitment platforms and online job portals allow businesses to reach a wider pool of candidates by expanding their recruitment efforts beyond traditional methods. Alongside these platforms social media, professional networks, and digital marketing play a crucial role in promoting job opportunities, allowing businesses to target specific demographics and engage with potential candidates directly.
AI technology can be beneficial in the recruitment and hiring of soft skills and can assist in high-volume hiring by automating candidate screening processes, saving time and resources and data analytics can improve candidate quality by analyzing applicant data, identifying patterns, and predicting candidate success, leading to more informed hiring decisions and increased retention rates.
2. Automation and Labor-Saving Technologies
Automation can significantly improve the recruitment and candidate experience. Automation can be used to efficiently screen applications, schedule interviews, and communicate with candidates. This not only saves time and reduces administrative burden but also enhances the overall candidate experience.
3. Upskilling and Training Through Technology
Training existing employees in the hospitality industry will be important for businesses unable to meet demands through recruitment alone. E-learning platforms offer a flexible and accessible way to deliver training programs, allowing employees to learn at their own pace and convenience. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) provide immersive and interactive training experiences, especially for soft skills development. These technologies simulate real-life scenarios, enabling employees to practice communication, problem-solving, and customer service skills in a safe and controlled environment.
By incorporating AI for the recruitment and hiring of soft skills, businesses can identify skill gaps and provide targeted training programs to enhance employee performance and facilitate continuous learning and development. Enabling employees to stay updated with industry trends in this way leads to improved job satisfaction, increased employee retention, and a more skilled workforce.
4. Enhancing Candidate Experience with Technology
Providing a better candidate experience throughout the recruitment process can significantly improve hiring outcomes. Using chatbots that can answer frequently asked questions, provide real-time updates on application status, and guide candidates through the application process alongside other automated communications and scheduling systems makes the process more efficient.
Using technology to keep candidates engaged in the recruitment process is crucial in developing talent pools capable of weathering seasonal demands and other pressures. Technology allows businesses to send personalized updates, nurture relationships through email marketing campaigns, and leverage candidate relationship management systems to ensure ongoing communication contributing to a positive employer brand image.
Balancing Technology with the Human Touch
Maintaining a balance between technology and human interaction is important for successful hospitality recruitment. While technology brings efficiency, automation, and convenience, it cannot replace personal connections, empathy, and the ability to deliver exceptional guest experiences.
Technology is an enabler, supporting and enhancing the recruitment process rather than replacing human involvement. It can automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and provide data-driven insights, allowing recruiters to focus on building relationships, assessing cultural fit, and evaluating soft skills.
Can an RPO Provider Help You Access Game-Changing Talent Attraction Technology?
Partnering with an RPO provider can help hospitality businesses to access new technologies and seamlessly integrate them into their recruitment processes. An RPO provider like Pierpoint brings specialized expertise and knowledge of emerging technologies, AI-driven recruitment and hiring for soft skills, and innovative software solutions allowing businesses to stay ahead of the curve.
By collaborating with an RPO provider, hospitality businesses can tap into a wealth of resources and industry best practices, enabling them to optimize their recruitment strategies, improve candidate experience, and streamline operations. Book a call with one of our consultants to find out more.