What can hospitality businesses do to attract staff? Shane Mclave, Director at Excel Recruitment has the answers

Have staff shortages in the hospitality industry eased?
Ireland’s hospitality sector is still struggling under the strain of staffing shortages, particularly in the positions of chefs, kitchen porters and front of house staff. The numbers required in terms of the workforce are simply not here at the moment, so we must look overseas to fill the gap. But this is an immediate problem and as it stands, the solution i.e. the work visa process, is cumbersome and slow. It needs to change and thankfully it’s not a difficult fix.

What kind of staff are your clients looking for?
The chef crisis continues unabated, but the big question of the moment is ‘where are all the kitchen porters?’ The reply is simple – they’ve moved sector during the pandemic and are not coming back! We simply do not have the people coming into the country that we used to. Those finishing school or in college are no longer attracted to roles in the hospitality sector, many of whom have no desire to go back into an industry that has had such a stop-start existence throughout Covid. The imperative now is to get candidates through to fill vacancies so that workers can secure fulfilling, well-paid employment and the industry can regain some of the momentum lost over the worst of the restrictions. Changes to the visa process in the short-term will certainly go some of the way to alleviating the crisis.

What could be done to alleviate staff shortages in the industry?
This country is currently home to thousands of students from abroad, many of whom are eager to work. However, their Stamp 2 Visa model only allows them to work for 20 hours for seven months of the year and for 40 hrs for just five months. These students could also contribute in a big way to solving our staff shortages – if only our Visa system facilitated this. Prohibiting these people from working more than 20 hours a week is both needlessly harmful to their own personal financial situation and to the industries that need them in the labour force. As we head into the winter, we’re going to see the current situation become even worse, at a time in which most hospitality businesses would normally make a lot of money. This can be the difference between success and failure.

Are hospitality businesses offering enough incentives to would-be employees?
If you want to quickly improve some of the staffing issues in the hospitality sector, boosting what they have in their pockets is one of the best places to start. Some employers use service charges to pay part of the staff’s wages and it would really help if workers were free to divvy up all tips between themselves in any way they choose. Keeping an open mind about flexible start and finish times or even shift sharing could be of benefit. Quality of work is essential – improve the organisation and stability of staff, along with a reasonable work life balance which can really benefit the business and increase morale among staff. Incentives such as bonuses, health benefits and realistic progression in the employee’s role are all essential aspects that candidates now look for in a job.

What steps has Excel Recruitment taken to try and ease pressures on clients?
We can supply our clients nationwide with additional workers during peak times and across all levels such as accommodation, chefs, bar and waiting staff, finance, HR, administration and management positions, which can be provided on a permanent and contract basis. For clients that have a smaller HR team, we can also provide training across the hospitality sector through Future Proof Training and the Irish Barista Academy.

When was Excel Recruitment set up?
Excel Recruitment is celebrating 20 years in business this year and has been in operation since 2002. With five offices located in Dublin, Kildare, Cork, Galway, and Belfast, Excel has rapidly become one Ireland’s leading recruitment firms.

What does your service consist of?
We are an award-winning specialist recruitment agency holding a database of over 1000 clients, 85,000 candidates and a team of 80 expert recruiters. We utilise a number of different platforms including job boards, our internal website and social media. We have also developed an App which is fully automated with our recruitment process and linked together with our training, recruitment and compliance platforms for a seamless collaborative solution.

How easy is it for both clients and candidates to use your service?
It’s so easy to use our services. For employers, we save you time by filtering out candidates who simply don’t have the right skills for the job. It also helps that we have a growing database of over 85,000 candidates. We’ll collect and assess CVs, check references and filter talented job seekers which will save your company time and money. We won’t just provide you with people, we’ll provide you with the talent and support to help your business grow. For candidates, you can easily reach out to us to ask for advice and we have an abundance of jobs listed on our website that you can easily view and apply to at your own convenience and ease.

What advice would you give a hospitality business that’s struggling to find staff?
Examine where your guest experience is suffering due to a staffing shortage. Pick the most important areas i.e. those with the biggest impact on guest satisfaction and look for ways to solve these issues first. It helps to have a reliable recruitment partner and we would be happy to have a chat if you need advice. Invest in existing employees by offering additional training and development opportunities, financial incentives, flexible scheduling, or more vacation days for long-serving staff. Our training programmes enable candidates to acquire and develop the skills necessary to deliver the best possible service, at every stage in their hospitality career.

Tel 01 871 7676 or email info@excelrecruitment.com