Tourism must reformulate its proposal to reconnect with employees

Tourism must reformulate its proposal to reconnect with employees

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Interview/ One of the serious problems this year is the lack of workers to fill jobs in the tourism sector. In the European Union alone there are 1.2 million job vacancies and a Turijobs survey confirmed that six out of ten workers want to leave the sector and migrate to one with better working conditions. In this interview with HOSTELTURXavier Martín Canals, CEO of Turijobs, explains a series of reasons to understand why there is a lack of employees if there are unemployed people, and focuses on the need for flexible legislation and training so that the labor market does not lose professionals.

A Eurofirms Group report said that Spain faced the summer with a deficit of 50,000 waiters, but the labor shortage is widespread throughout the sector. The season is already underway, is the situation still worrying or has it stabilized?

The reality is that we have been seeing a decline in this supply-demand ratio for months, due to a strong increase in supply and a reduction in demand. Now it has stagnated, because supply has stopped growing as strongly as months ago and because demand has stopped falling (it’s not going up either). It is a very tense situation for many of our clients, whom we accompany in this transformation exercise that we understand is so necessary for the entire sector.

Why is there a lack of workers with an unemployment rate of 12.4% in Spain?

This is quite a complex question, and as such, there is no simple answer. We can highlight several elements that are playing a role in making the situation like this. On the one hand, macro elements must be highlighted: the trend has been reversed and we are experiencing a turning point, where the active population has stopped growing. Not only in Spain, but at European and global level. Therefore, the reduction in the available active population translates into less available labor and, consequently, more tense markets. Secondly, COVID: many companies have closed and there is the issue of ERTES. All this accelerated a change in the labor market that had been developing and the population took advantage of this break to train and seek a way out to other sectors.

What is wrong so that the labor market cannot respond to the demand of companies?

In this case it is not about the market not being able to respond, I think it is a problem of adaptability to a reality that has not been faced: the market has changed and companies cannot continue as they have been doing. You have to do a self-analysis and a self-criticism: What conditions are we offering? What is the value proposition of your project? What will be the candidate’s contribution to society?

Xavier Martín Canals, CEO of Turijobs.

There is also the issue of lack of training…

We are in a society with a percentage of unemployment that comes from a part of society that is far outside the labor market, with significant training needs. It is a very worrying subject. The fact that even though there are unemployed, not all positions are filled is a different debate.

What can the State do so that there is a labor reorientation and the unemployed can fill vacancies?

The State has different insertion and training programs; however, they fall short, because we return to the starting point, the candidate is not just looking for an offer with a salary, he is looking for better conditions, more time to enjoy, family reconciliation. Therefore, the insertion programs cannot work behind the back of the employers.

What else can the state do?

The State can play several very important roles: recovery of the sector’s reputation as a place for professional development; Generate the legislative framework (especially labor) to facilitate and training. In addition, we must continue to fight, as a country, those who generate fraud by not legalizing labor relations. It would also be very necessary to review the procedures and criteria around unemployment benefits. And finally, help by making the legislation more flexible for a sector with very specific casuistries: seasonality, schedules, etc.

He said that insertion programs cannot turn their backs on companies. And the companies, in turn, should work hand in hand with the Universities.

Many companies do it, but there should be more. You have to be much closer to training centers and universities, I think that closeness is needed by both parties, the entire sector needs it. Greater communication to be able to “produce” the needs that come from the sector at a training level. Of course, at this point, I want to highlight the difficulties that Universities often have in order to obtain government approval of certain changes in the programs, which makes the system very slow.

Human Resources, an area that must be empowered

What needs to change regarding employment policies?

We already have very good cases in the sector that can be taken as an example. In the first place, it is to empower the talent area, for those organizations that have one, or the person who is responsible for the related tasks. The talent occupies a crucial part in the strategy of companieswe can make a thousand Excel of materials, of purchases, of buildings, of revenue, sales, whatever we want, but without a good Talent policy it won’t work. And for me that is the disruptive change, start by believing it, really. Then, we already talked about all the actions, employer brandingrecruitment, development, loyalty plans…

It is complicated after 2 such difficult years, there is tension on many sides, but we need to fall in love again, recover our spirits and recover the message: this is a wonderful sector with many possibilities, we must understand that we must reformulate the proposal to reconnect

How is attractiveness recovered as a sector to develop professionally?

We have fallen short with the purpose and value proposition as a sector, in general, in most companies. Starting from a necessary salary increase, there are many more fields to improve. There is a very important issue that is the conditions, the Covid was the trigger for the consumption model, and the labor market is not exempt. We learned to value free time, taking care of ourselves, the time dedicated to training and this often collides with the conditions offered by the tourism and hospitality sector. What does the most damage to the sector are the conditions that companies offer, I’m not just talking about salary.

If I as a company am capable of being more attractive, of creating a project that meets expectations, I will stop having so many problems in attracting talent. On the other hand, if as a professional, I have the right training and attitude (one of the most requested requirements in all job offers published in Turijobs), I will surely have more chances of success in my career.

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