What do you think of the current recruitment issue? Why do you think it happened? Could it have been avoided?
Recruitment has been a problem for ages, not only because of the pandemic. These shortages
at operation level were generally covered by
third country nationals as it’s become far easier
to outsource labour licenses. The insecurity
that came about due to the first lockdown gave
third country nationals, especially the Eastern
Europeans, a quick call to return home due to
the fear of insecurity.
We all thought it was a short-term thing, but
one of the biggest hits for Malta was when
last August, the UK put the country on the
red list. From a hotel’s point of view, this was
challenging. The hospitality industry was the
‘unstable industry’ in COVID times where many
pay cuts happened, causing people to move
on and out of the industry in general. The
enrollment gap gave these job seekers new
possibilities as every department had some
sort of gap to fill. As a major rule there is more
employment in the public sector, so the private
sector suffers greatly as a result.
The only thing that employers could have
done to alleviate some of the burdens we are
facing today, in hindsight, might have been not
to let people go, renew contracts and keep
paying people in full. But the insecurity made
it irresponsible to keep payroll on without the
need for work.
How can employers avoid this crisis?
What does the industry need to regularise
recruitment in the hospitality industry?
The number of staff has reduced greatly, so this
crisis should not happen again. And although
that might sound like wishful thinking, we are
fully aware and prepared to react accordingly
with a clear goal in mind. The only way to avoid
this from happening again is to ensure that
your employment measures are sustainable and
regularised. The hotel industry is as regularised as
it gets - what we need to understand is the influx
of guests in and out of the country after the
strains of the pandemic.
How does your business plan to avoid this issue
in the future?
We have been working to accommodate the
business that we can in line with available staffing
and resources. We are also maximising on staff
flexibility, and are training them to work in
various sections within their departments.
The crisis gave us the opportunity to upskill our
people, with some situations even resulting in
promotions for some of our staff. Ultimately, our
goal is to be responsible for the jobs we create,
maximising the industry potential as a whole
while nurturing our staff in the most inclusive
All in all, what we need in hopes that the
hospitality industry in Malta will continue to
thrive as it has always done, is to understand
value. The value of a role in a company, the value
of a job for a worker, the value of reassurance for
a community and the value of living in a country.
When value is added to the basic factors in which
we live our lives, processes will continue to grow
and evolve and even thrive.
Malta’s restaurants need to return to their glory
days of Summer 2019, when packed venues
were the place to be, hotel bookings were
unable to keep up and bars were the usual for
both weekends and weeknights! But the truth
remains… is Malta ready to take on the surge of
patrons just yet, or will the industry simply fall to
its knees in surrender to the lack of staff?
Kristina Cassar Dowling
Kristina Cassar Dowling is a journalist, blogger and writer who focuses on food culture, the arts and sustainable lifestyles - her biggest passions in life. Kristina is a freelance writer who also focuses on human stories, business and other niches.
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