Bad conditions – crises and inflation: there is a lack of personnel in tourism

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The spirit of post-coronavirus optimism was short-lived in the tourism industry. Because the energy crisis, rising prices and labor shortages thwarted the hoped-for advance once again.

At a tourism symposium organized by the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) in Grossarl in Pongau, Salzburg, experts highlighted the “problematic employment situation” and looked for solutions. Because there is currently a shortage of about 30,000 workers in the industry.

First the good news: “The booking situation is very good,” said Robert Seeber, chairman of the federal branch of WKÖ. “Tourism is very resilient. And people long for vacation. You want to catch up on missed leisure activities. In Austria, there is something for everyone,” he emphasized on Wednesday evening during a “fireplace conversation” at the five-star hotel “Edelweiss” in Grossarl.

Employees want to work less
And yet: tourism is experiencing “very challenging times” due to price increases, high energy costs and staffing problems,” explains Seeber. Oliver Fritz from the Austrian Institute for Economic Research (WIFO) assessed the employment situation after Corona as good.

However, there are also several factors that are troubling the tourism sector: the increasing trend towards part-time workers – the share is already 42 percent – a lack of childcare places, the shortage of skilled workers and the decrease in domestic labor potential and the decrease in average working hours. “The desire to work less is strong,” says Fritz.

More vacancies than ever before
According to the WKÖ, there have never been so many vacancies on the entire Austrian labor market as there are now. About 230,000 workers are currently missing. The demand for labor is increasing sharply, while at the same time the number of people in work is falling further. In 2040 there would be an additional gap of about 360,000 vacancies if no countermeasures are taken. There would be an additional need for about 20,000 workers in accommodation and gastronomy.

The measures against the labor shortage should be based on the cause of the bottleneck. Fritz explains that countermeasures can be taken through a training offensive, making working conditions more attractive, increasing the labor supply by increasing the potential domestic workforce and recruiting foreign workers.

Responsible for demographic development
Fritz also attributed the fact that there was a labor shortage in Austria and other European countries to demographic developments. However, the labor potential of the working age between 15 and 64 has not yet been exhausted, especially among the elderly “there is still great potential”. Up to 360,000 additional workers could be found here. For the “unemployed”, for example women who stay at home because of childcare, the hidden reserve is good for a plus of 84,000. And for part-time workers who want to work longer, there is a potential of plus 234,000.

Austrians ‘get sick faster’
In general, labor in Austria is too expensive and should be tax-free. “We also need to make sure that overtime is tax-free, not just the allowance,” says accountant Josef Reiter. He pointed out that Austrians “get sick more quickly” compared to other European countries. “Here you have to try to keep the working population healthy as long as possible.”

For older workers, tourism is “not the big industry,” Reiter said, because of the working conditions. A waiter in his late fifties wouldn’t be able to take as much as a 26 year old. Here, the creativity of restaurateurs and hoteliers is needed to make working conditions more attractive,” says senior manager Peter Hettegger.

Source: Krone

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