More than 4,200 skilled staff are lacking in Hamburg’s hotel and catering sector, according to the Fachkräftemonitor 2019 of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. For this reason, the 20th Hamburg Tourism Conference is focussing on issues relevant to the entire sector: “How do we stimulate interest in tourism among skilled and management personnel?” Some 300 participants are expected to exchange views on new forms of business leadership, recruiting and incentive systems in the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, in the Museum for Hamburg History and at NEW WORK SE on Tuesday (October 29, 2019). The importance of the tourism industry for Hamburg was highlighted during a panel discussion with representatives of political parties. The lack of accommodation for employees proved a sticking point as it impacts employee retention and recruitment. Securing skilled labourers is presently challenging and is likely to pose problems for both the catering and tourism industry in future. This is based on the development of the demographics over the coming years.
Business focuses on skills issue
The demands of the working environment are constantly on the rise, introducing new tasks with respect to acquiring staff and managing them. To remain attractive as an employer, it is now more important than ever that the working culture and needs of potential staff must be considered and harmonised with operational processes. Anyone wishing, as a host, to generate positive resonance has to provide the right working conditions for their skilled staff. Hamburg’s leisure and cultural sectors offer a wide range and are growing from year to year, and the same applies to the hospitality sector. The basis for this development, which has been welcomed by all the participants in the 20th Hamburg Tourism Conference, is motivated and qualified staff. Securing skilled staff is not merely a current challenge, but will place increasing demands on the hospitality sector and those working in tourism over the years ahead, given demographic changes, the tourism sector believes.
“Almost two thirds of Hamburg’s firms see the lack of skilled workers as among the biggest risks to business, and this is hitting the tourism sector as well. Nevertheless, the sector offers exciting, varied, ever-changing and inclusive training opportunities and jobs, independent of origin, education or handicap,” André Mücke, deputy head of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, said in his opening address. “Along with a high quality of life, Hamburg has good conditions for attracting skilled staff, from abroad as well. We have to work at highlighting the sector’s advantages better.”
In his speech, Torsten Sevecke, Councillor at the Economy, Transport and Innovation Authority, noted: “Since the beginning of the noughties, around 50,000 jobs have been created in tourism in Hamburg. This makes the sector a powerful jobs driver in the city. Today, the sector employing around 89,000 is one of the city’s main economic pillars. The positive trend on the Hamburg jobs market also means a challenge for employers in presenting themselves as attractive to young men and women starting out on their professional careers. Commensurate pay is a major factor here, although certainly not the only factor. We will support initiatives from the sector to position itself better on these key issues for the future wherever possible.”
Other sectors are also looking for skilled staff
“When the quality and range of the tourist sector are right, the appropriate skills are needed. We need to set new accents along with the political leadership. The government is strongly promoting the STEM professions. Similar measures are needed for the service sector, as other service professions, apart from tourism, are also looking for skilled staff,” Norbert Aust, chairman of the Hamburg Tourism Association e.V., said in an appeal to government. “Tourism is a sector of people for people,” the professor said. “Quality of service is the top priority for a guest. Without sufficient qualified staff, it is hard to live up to role of host,” according to Michael Otremba, CEO of Hamburg Tourism GmbH. The sector sees potential in how it presents its advantages. Potential job applicants are often completely unaware of the diversity of career opportunities in the hotel sector. The initiative Your City, Your Hotels aims to remedy this. Residents of Hamburg are invited to become guests at favourable rates in more than 40 hotels in their own city from November 8-11,2019 and to take a peek behind the scenes.