Travel among industries ‘acutely’ impacted by recruitment crisis

Travel is among the industries that has seen recruitment “acutely” impacted by Covid during the ‘Great Resignation’, according to auditing firm RSM.

RSM’s latest Real Economy concluded 61% of companies are finding staff recruitment ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ challenging, and that recruitment is a major concern for 41% of all employers – including those in the travel sector.

The report suggests growth being hindered by staffing challenges with 34% of businesses having to delay expansion plans as a result while 30% of executives say they have had to turn businesses away and a further 30% have had to close some locations.

Small businesses are “suffering more than most”, with 40% turning business away due to staffing shortages. RSM said: “This is the latest challenge for the travel sector which is keen to take advantage of an upturn in business.”

RSM’s report shows that while 58% of employers believe staff left for a higher salary, 57% say staff moved on for a change of lifestyle. Meanwhile, 71% of employers say they expect to see a permanent increase in remote working in future as employees demand remote and hybrid working.

Businesses are offering incentives in a bid to improve staff retention, the report found, with increased salaries, improved employee benefits.

According to ONS employment statistics, vacancies have reached a record high of 1.2 million, and total job-to-job moves have increased to a high of 979,000, largely driven by resignations rather than dismissals.

And travel agencies have reported turning to applicants from outside the industry amid the ongoing staffing crisis, although some firms have been battling to keep talent in the industry.

Ian Bell, the head of travel and tourism at RSM UK said: “The travel industry has been acutely hit by staff and many years of experience leaving the sector as the pandemic stalled global travel and, in turn, job opportunities.

“However, as restrictions ease and the industry ramps up again, attracting and retaining staff will be difficult as experienced talent may have progressed a career within a different field; so operators will need to invest in training to quickly bring new staff up to speed.

“Employees now hold more of the cards, with the record levels of vacancies, largely due to resignations, demonstrating that people are not afraid to walk if the company they work for doesn’t meet their needs. The current recruitment landscape presents a huge challenge for travel businesses and many will look to increase salaries and enhance benefits in a bid to attract and retain the best talent, at a time when cash will be tight following the pandemic.”

RSM’s survey data was taken from over 400 senior executives from UK middle market businesses across all sectors including travel.

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