New Zealand HR
HRM Guide Updates


New Zealand's Tight Job Market Creates New Training Challenges For Hospitality Industry

September 17 2007 - Two recent reports from the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI) highlight the growth of the hospitality industry and its future skill and training needs.

They show unprecedented growth over the past five years, with a 20% increase in hospitality employees between 2001 and 2006. This compares with an employment growth of 14% in the economy as a whole. During the same period, 4000 new hospitality businesses were created in New Zealand - a 27% increase. Over 135,000 people are now employed in the hospitality industry.

According to Steve Hanrahan, HSI's Chief Executive, the tight job market means that the industry is now dealing with training issues that result from:

  • increased use of non-skilled and migrant labour
  • Generation Y [staff born between 1978 and 1994] work ethics, and
  • poor basic literacy and numeracy skills

Almost two fifths of employees in the industry are aged under 25 and Steve Hanrahan said that many employers are changing their management styles in order to successfully recruit, train and keep young staff. Changes included more flexible staffing patterns to help support work/life balance issues and the provision of value-added remuneration packages incorporating training and development opportunities.

In the future, a shortage of skilled employees is likely to result in even greater reliance on new immigrants. Recent statistics already indicate that last year one in three hospitality employees was born outside New Zealand. This compares with one in four in 2001.

HSI's media release states that it is currently 'developing key plans to ensure it has the capability to meet the changing hospitality environment. These include a strategic training plan that identifies HSI's response to support employers in meeting the new skills needs, and an application to the Government via its Investment Plan process for tertiary funding to meet increased growth in demand for training.'

"Our future challenge is to engage effectively with the increased number of employers who are demanding training support," Steve Hanrahan said.

He noted the significant shift towards higher qualifications in the industry over the past five years. More than a fifth (22%) of hospitality employees now have vocational qualifications with a further 10% possessing degrees. "This is a positive sign that more and more people are treating hospitality as a profession and gaining qualifications to support building their careers."

HSI's Chair, Carol Stigley, Chair of HSI welcomed the timely reports were timely as even higher demand for skilled staff is expected in the industry over the next five years:

"The timing for these reports couldn't be better as we're expecting another 13,500 employees to be hired in the next five years through to 2011, and we need to prepare now to be able to help employers manage and support this growth," she said.

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