Replenishing Hospitality Industry Talent Pools

Global talent management is a salient concern among organizations and industries following the pandemic as employees opted for alternative career paths. This issue emerged as employees were laid off, especially in the hospitality industry, which faces an uphill struggle in recruiting and retaining talent to fill staff shortages. This circumstance can hardly be attributed to the pandemic, as many work concerns were already embedded in the industry before the lockdown. Accordingly, while the lockdown, during which hospitality organizations laid off employees, has exasperated the challenges with talent management, the concerns have long been recognized even if they have not been previously addressed. This shortage has escalated an arms race between hospitality organizations, desperate to secure their provision of dwindling industry talent reserves, though often leaving empty-handed as industry talent pools dry up. This frustration has raised the question of how hospitality employers can best address talent shortages.

Notably, while talent shortages within the hospitality industry are an established concern, they may be less well understood by practitioners and academics. Concerns around hospitality working conditions, for example, by hospitality graduates, have historically rested on their industry vision as opposed to any specific employer. Indeed, many hospitality employers provide fair or improving working conditions, though these are often left in the shadow of the broader hospitality industry employer reputation. In other words, talent shortages reside at the industry, macro, as opposed to the organizational, micro, level; hence designing solutions for hospitality talent shortages must similarly reside at the macro, not micro level. This proposition, therefore, presents a recruitment and retention paradigm not bound by but across organizational barriers to ensure the hospitality industry can compete for talent from other sectors. Drawing on a common pool resource lens, this invites questions on how such industry initiatives should / could be designed.