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Hospo industry struggling to recruit skilled labour as borders remain closed

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A new member survey we’ve recently conducted has shown that 78 per cent of hospitality businesses trying to recruit skilled workers are finding it difficult to do so.

More than half of those surveyed that were actively recruiting for a senior role said they had found it extremely difficult to fill, having to repeatedly advertise the role until a suitable candidate was found.

26 per cent said that whilst they did manage to fill the position, the timeframes to do so were unacceptably long.

Only twenty per cent of members who responded to the survey said that they were able to fill positions relatively easily.

Forty per cent said that they had been or are recruiting for a senior position within their business whilst 64 per cent had recruited for a junior position.

Junior positions were proving easier to recruit for with just over a third of business owners reporting difficulty.

72 per cent of members said they had not noticed any increase in New Zealanders applying for these roles.

The hospitality industry has until now, been in sustained growth. But for some time, we have been desperately lacking the skilled workforce we have needed to support our growth. We have relied heavily on a migrant workforce that is now largely inaccessible to us.

Whilst as an industry we support the need to recruit and train Kiwis, our businesses also need to be able to employ staff that have the right skills for the role. This is particularly vital for senior roles where the right employee can make or break the business.

Sadly we have seen so many cases of our members providing the necessary evidence of being unsuccessful in finding a suitable New Zealander for a role and yet still blocked from hiring a migrant worker.

Our members are clearly crying out for skilled people to work in their businesses, but significant under investment in creating viable employment pathways into our industry and a lack of understanding of the industry combined now with the inability to recruit from overseas has put us in an extremely challenging position.

COVID-19 has now made it necessary to reset the employee pathway. This means investing in hospitality apprenticeships and further training fit for purpose whilst also refining our immigration policy needs.

We have issued a call to the next government to address the employment requirements of the industry as one of its key areas of focus in its 2020 Election Manifesto.

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