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No experience, no problem: hotels fight for staff

STORY: No experience? No resume?No problem at all in some of Europe’s top tourist destinations.Hotels, bars and restaurants in Spain and Portugal are fighting a fierce war for talent.Waiters and other workers are in such short supply that firms are willing to hire almost anyone willing to join.Mariveni Rodgriguez runs a bar in Madrid’s vibey La Latina district:“There’s a waiters’ crisis because of all we have been talking about: salaries and long hours. But I think this is a structural crisis of the economy and work in Spain. Not just in the hospitality sector, and if we keep on lacking waiters what will happen in the future is that there will be no bars.”There shouldn’t be a shortage of job seekers, with youth unemployment above 20% in Portugal, and near 30% in Spain.But workers and unions blame unsociable hours, low pay and short contracts for putting people off the hospitality sector.That leaves Spain’s catering trade alone short of 200,000 workers.It’s a similar story over in Portugal, where hotels need another 15,000 staff.In Lisbon, Miguel Andrade is operations director at PHC Hotels Group:”If there are no workers available, if we cannot recruit, we will have to cut services, cut our availability to work, and this is regrettable and dramatic for an industry that has had no revenue for the last two years, that is very under capitalised and that needs to respond to existing demand.”The shortages come at a bad time, with demand rebounding after years of lockdowns.Searches for summer flights to Spain and Portugal have jumped as much as 156% from last year.Travel looks set to match or surpass pre-health crisis levels.The tourists want to come to Spain and Portugal, but the bars and hotels may not be ready to welcome them.

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