Hospitality’s Image Problem (and What You Can Do About It)

May 07, 2017 | 3307 Views

Hospitality’s Image Problem (and What You Can Do About It)

Gabe Hosler, FMP

Vice President of Operations Support and Training | Del Taco

As the economy has gotten stronger during the past few years, it has become harder and harder for employers in almost every industry to find qualified workers.  In fact, according to a 2016 report from SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, more than two-thirds of surveyed organizations said they were having difficulty filling certain positions, a statistic that increased from 50% in 2013.

The hospitality industry, of course, has not been immune to this problem.  When asked “How concerned is your company with the following workforce related challenges?” during the recent CHART Training Trends study, 74% of hotel and restaurant respondents said that they were either “extremely concerned” or “very concerned” about recruitment (the highest percentage among all of the problems listed), and an additional 26% of survey-takers were “somewhat concerned” or “concerned.”  Zero percent of respondents said they were “not concerned” for this question.

One of the reasons I believe that recruiting has become such a particular challenge is that our industry, at least when considering all employers as a whole, has an image problem.  We are generally perceived poorly by prospective job-seekers, especially in comparison to the science and technology sectors, and often end up near the bottom when people rank career desirability for what I believe is a variety of reasons:

So what can we do to improve this situation and become the industry of choice for those looking for great careers?  Obviously it took a long time to get where we are, and it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of time to change the situation.  But there are a few things that I believe that every hospitality professional can do today to start turning things around, and they mirror the guiding principles of CHART:

With regard to the fourth idea about “caring,” CHART has an upcoming opportunity for you to get involved: our annual Silent Auction to provide scholarship funds for collegiate hospitality students.  We are seeking donations for this auction, which will take place during the 94th Semi-Annual Conference in San Diego this summer, so that we can invest in the future superstars of our industry.  Please take a few minutes to think about what you, your company, or your company’s partners/vendors could donate, and even if you only represent one location or have a small item, we’ll be happy to accept anything you can give.  You can reach out to me at if you have a donation or would like to find out additional information on the event.

Helping out with the auction might seem like a very small first step, but it’s going to be these types of incrementally positive actions that will ultimately help us succeed in making hospitality a more respected industry among job-seekers.

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