STAFF SHORTAGE PUTS GERMAN HOTELS IN NEW STRAITS

Anna Luebke - Sep 26, 2021
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The hotel and catering industry is in staff shortage following the strains of the Corona crisis. The German Federal Employment Agency alone currently has 30,000 unfilled jobs registered in professions related to hospitality and tourism. That is 70 percent more than a year ago and is now back to pre-crisis levels. At the same time, however, a severe slump in the training market is further thinning out the pool of young professionals - and possibly jeopardizing the diversity of the range of services on offer to guests.

An overview compiled by the Federal Ministry of Economics at the request of Reginald Hanke, a member of the German Bundestag, provides information about the extent of the staff shortage. While 11 percent fewer young people (than in 2019) started an apprenticeship across all occupations in the corona year 2020, the number of newly concluded apprenticeship contracts in the areas particularly affected by lockdown and contact restrictions has in some cases dropped by more than half.

Catering Industry's Problems Getting Worse

In Germany, according to the latest data, the number of prospective chefs in their first year of training fell by 20 percent. The number of hotel clerks fell by 31 percent. And the number of new entrants as future tourism clerks even dwindled by 61 percent.

A look at the current recruitment statistics of the Federal Employment Agency confirms that the problem in the catering industry is currently becoming even worse. Hotel companies reported a total of 7067 new apprenticeship positions to be filled for the training year now beginning. That was 17 percent less than at the same time last year. Of these, 3193 were still unfilled at the end of August.

10 Percent Fewer Apprenticeship Vacancies Than in the Previous Year

Fewer young people are interested in apprenticeships in these sectors too. In the hotel industry, only 3156 applicants were looking for an apprenticeship with the help of the employment agency by the end of August, 29 percent fewer than a year ago. The situation is gradually getting better in the catering industry: 10 percent fewer apprenticeship offers than in the previous year and 21 percent fewer applicants.

However, the Ministry of Economics points out in its answer to Hanke that not all companies and applicants turn to the employment agency - and that their share is currently "probably lower than usual due to the pandemic". At the same time, the ministry points to a number of training support programs that the government has launched during the pandemic - with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.

However, Mr. Hanke is sceptical about the effect of this aid, especially for industries that have been particularly hard hit by the crisis: "The aid is of little use there because it mainly supports the retention of apprenticeship positions. But the problem is: "If young people have the feeling that an industry cannot offer secure jobs, training there is not desirable either," warns Hanke. "If this trend cannot be stopped, there is a threat of a decline in diversity and quality in German tourism in the future."

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