Who could have predicted how 2020 would turn out? The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped our world in ways we couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of the year. The long-term effects of a virus that’s still out there eight months later are that brick-and-mortar retailers, airlines, restaurants, and the hotel industry are all struggling. Politico says hotel accommodations and food services have lost 12% of their workers to other industries. Arts, entertainment, and recreation-related companies lost 11%. As we near the holiday season, what’s next for the hospitality job market?
Will the Industry Bounce Back?
CNBC says, “Few industries have been as hard hit as the hospitality sector, which experienced mass layoffs and furloughs across the globe.” Industry leaders say that 2020 will likely end as the worst year on record for hotel occupancy. Stay-at-home orders, quarantines, travel restrictions, and fears of contracting the virus have kept many people from vacationing or even traveling for work-related events this year. Hotel Business says, “COVID-19’s impact on the travel industry has been nine times worse than post-9/11.” However, they also point out, “the hospitality industry is resilient and adaptable.”
There is light at the end of this scary tunnel. By November, two major pharmaceutical companies said they were nearing the release of a COVID-19 vaccine. This summer, hospitality, retail, and food service workers saw the biggest increase in employment of any industry, with a jump of 27%. That shift tells us that the industry is going to bounce back; we just don’t know how quickly. While the healthcare industry always added the most jobs before COVID, the hospitality industry had the second-highest rate of job growth. This trend had been going on since 2004.
While these are all great indicators that the hospitality industry will someday resume as a lucrative career path with many jobs available, Tourism Economics cautioned that the hotel industry will not likely return completely to normal until 2023.
Up until 2020, hospitality was one of the most promising fields for college students to consider. A hospitality degree opened doors to lucrative careers in hotels, restaurants, exhibit centers, event venues, airlines, and more. In June 2019 alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1.1 million people were hired. Just eight months later, many of those same new hires were likely furloughed as the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores.
This fact shows that the industry will emerge from the challenges of 2020 stronger and with a firmer understanding of the kind of crisis management, it takes to weather even the toughest challenges. Hospitality businesses have already shown great resilience as they pivoted their service offerings. This also taught valuable crisis management skills that will be used in the future.
At Gecko, we’ve seen jobs coming back of the summer, and we know that a career in hospitality is a long-term bet that candidates will win in the end. Now is the time to talk with our team about your skills. We will work together to come back stronger than we’ve ever been.