Industry Update
External Article 9 July 2021

Half of U.S. Hospitality Workers Won’t Return in Job Crunch

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More than half of U.S. hospitality workers wouldn’t go back to their old jobs and over a third aren’t even considering reentering the industry, according to a survey that underscores hiring challenges for restaurants, bars and hotels.


No pay increase or incentive would make these workers return to their previous workplace, according to a poll of about 13,000 job seekers during the second quarter from Joblist, an employment-search engine. These former hospitality employees cited wanting higher pay, a less physically demanding workplace and better benefits, the survey finds.

The results show the extent of the unpopularity of the industry as the economy reopens in fits and starts. The elevated number of unfilled job openings in the country – many of them in the service sector – point to an inability to meet surging demand from consumers, threatening to slow the overall recovery.

“The obvious implication is that if firms can’t expand as planned, the outlook for growth will be weaker,” said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING, in a note to clients.

Other data point to the sector’s struggles: the Institute for Supply Management’s June services index slowed from a record in May, largely due to a contraction in the employment measure.

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