Labor Shortage: The Holiday Hiccup?

Marlène* has been dreaming for months about this family holiday at Club Med, toes spread out under the French west coast sun, sipping cocktails by the pool while the “GOs” take care of entertaining the kids. Successful mission, despite some disappointments. Closed restaurant, spotty room cleaning, overworked staff… Although the stay was generally pleasant for the Parisian family, they felt that the service was not worth the price. And she is not the only one. On the internet, the opinions left in recent weeks portray the same situation for many and point to the cause: a blatant lack of personnel.

“We can have difficulties from time to time”, recognizes Stéphane Durand, vice president of HRD Europe, Middle East and Africa at Club Med, who indicates that the 35 clubs in France should recruit around 3,000 people in 2022. And like all the In the hotel and restaurant sector, the French holiday villa giant is facing the full brunt of a labor shortage. An unwanted shortage, when after two years of the pandemic, customers are returning in greater numbers than ever before.

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10% of employees on leave

The season is approaching and the bosses are shaking: between 250,000 and 300,000 vacancies must be filled, according to industry representatives. “This shortage existed before Covid-19: in 2019, we were looking for 150,000 people, recalls Vincent Sitz, restaurateur and chairman of the professional training committee of the National Group of Independent Hotel and Restaurant Operators. But the pandemic has accelerated things. »

The long periods of closure of establishments led some employees to dive into recycling, forcing others to work elsewhere, discovering the pleasure of not working every night or every weekend. As a result, about 10% of employees would have left the sector.

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In hopes of stopping the bleeding, unions and employers agreed earlier this year to raise the minimum wage, by 16% on average. Some have thought of new organizations to ease restrictions: elimination of the break between evening and midday services, rotation of staff for weekends… But to remain attractive, the profession will have to begin its introspection.

talent war

“Young people want to work, emphasizes Vincent Sitz, but mentalities have changed. “Gone is the career path that makes you accept to drool for ten years in the hope of being able to open your own business. Inconceivable, pyramid management where employees have no voice. “There is a real demand to be able to participate in the company, to give ideas and to be heard…” The constraints are inherent to the profession – a restaurant or a hotel open when customers are resting -, so you have to make it more attractive.

A plus for Club Med, wants to believe Stéphane Durand, who highlights “the experience of community life” offered by a GO season in the mythical villages. Especially since the Frenchman already carries out most of his missions (15,000) in his clubs through internal mobility from one season to the next. And it wants to attract young people by strengthening work-study contracts and training to unearth new talents and definitively anchor them in the profession. “It’s the new deal: before, the talent war was more about the developer or the data scientist ; today, it concerns waiters or cleaning staff. »

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In the immediate future, it will be especially necessary to find weapons for the summer. “We shouldn’t have too many problems with students in July-August, but the most difficult thing is the long, qualified contracts, throughout the season from April to September”, explains Thierry Grégoire, President of Union des Hospitality Trades and Industries (Umih) borne by seasonal workers. As a last resort, employers can always turn to foreign labor, as in agriculture. “And when you don’t find it, you’ll have to close your establishment two days a week, reduce the number of covers…” A pity when restaurant owners can return to full capacity after two seasons marked by health restrictions.

*The name has been changed.

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