Employer-led network the Hospitality & Tourism Skills network (HATS) has partnered with Tourism NI to spearhead a multi-channel advertising campaign to combat the crisis and promote the breadth of exciting opportunities that the industry has to offer potential job seekers.
Responding to the staffing crisis, Roisin McKee, director of the HATS network is clear there’s a need to restore confidence in the sector so that it is recognised as a stable and viable option for fulfilling careers.
“To help the sector recover, we urgently need to support businesses to fill current vacancies and to raise the profile of positions with good employers and inspire people to consider a career in the industry,” she said.
“There are incredible opportunities for people to join this industry yet there are still people who have misconceptions about the types of jobs available and the required skills. Employers are looking for people with personality and passion”
The industry recruitment campaign aligns employers’ needs, a portal for job applicants, as well as a best practice charter.
Running until the end of March 2022, the campaign features a series of quirky eye-catching job descriptions across billboards, outdoor advertising and social media to attract attention and highlight the dynamic and fast-paced roles available, helping to attract new recruits.
Whilst recruitment challenges are not new to the sector, the combination of skills shortages pre-Covid with the pandemic lockdowns and the impact of Brexit have exacerbated the problem.
As the hospitality and tourism sector begins to look forward there are key roles that are hard to recruit for, including kitchen staff, food and beverage roles, housekeeping and mid-management.
Roisin believes the new campaign will help address some of the issues but recognises that the industry has wider opportunities beyond the customer facing roles we as consumers experience, however in addition to these roles, there are many self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in the industry.
For employers the campaign provides a chance to reach out: “The campaign on its own isn’t enough. Businesses have a key role to play in showcasing their vacancies whether they’re part time, full time, entry level or management,” explained Roisin, adding: “And they can do that for free via Careerscope, the campaign job portal run by Springboard.
“We encourage businesses where possible to promote the flexibility and training offered in the roles to encourage more applications.”
Roisin said that with the challenges to attract and retain staff, companies are looking at what they can offer and many are already making great strides addressing working practices, the culture, terms and conditions, pay and more.
Whilst employer-led, the overarching objectives of the HATS network to address attraction, retention and employee engagement also involve everyone else with a stake in the sector.
“It’s critical to have that cohort of employers but also the trade partners and delivery partners from government and education,” said Roisin.
The ambition of the HATS network also goes beyond the immediate recruitment issues and looks to the longer term.
Roisin explained: “From the HATS network perspective, we see the industry recruitment campaign as being a catalyst to create a better awareness of our industry, helping to bring people in.
“We want to be able to progress people on a career pathway. Whether that’s moving vertically or horizontally in the industry to progress their careers.”
The HATS network project is supported by Invest Northern Ireland under its Collaborative Growth Programme.
Employers can upload their vacancies for free at https://careerscope.uk.net/employer-sign-up
Jobseekers can check out jobs available at https://careerscope.uk.net/jobs/NI