Before the pandemic, recruiting in the hospitality and casinos sector had a unique labor challenge. Typically known as the “talent crisis,” it was often very difficult to find the ideal candidate for an open position because people who enjoyed their jobs and were satisfied with their careers weren’t interested in making changes.  As a result, unemployment rates in these industries were quite low, particularly with minimum wage rates increasing across the US.

When COVID-19 hit, millions of jobs were lost in the hospitality and casino gaming industries, almost overnight. It was an incredible and staggering number. However, after a year of lockdowns, leisure travel and casino gaming are back in 2022. And the demand for casino and hospitality workers is increasing.

Unfortunately, in the time it has taken for hospitality and casino gaming companies in the U.S. to restart their hiring and recruitment efforts, many of their former workers have found new jobs in other areas. As a result, hotels, restaurants, casinos, and entertainment venues around the country can’t find enough workers.

“I expect 2022 will be a year of uneven recovery, as the first quarter will still present negative news on COVID and potential financial downturn. International tourism will not recover until the world becomes more stable and the fear of COVID subsides. All in all, Americans want to travel, and they will, but to domestic destinations. I expect the 2nd, 3rd, and 4thquarters will be great!” —Richard Verruni, GM, Allegretto Vineyard Resort

Richard Verruni

RICH VERRUNI

John James

JOHN JAMES

“Business leaders need to take a broader interpretation of the effect of COVID and its aftermath as things continue to show what an evolving ‘normal’ looks like.” —John James, CEO, Muckleshoot Casino

According to John James, CEO of Muckleshoot Casino, “Business leaders need to take a broader interpretation of the effect of COVID and its aftermath as things continue to show what an evolving “normal” looks like. Prudent leaders must follow a winning strategy that is done with steady execution surrounding realistic goals and objectives that achieve their expected results. While the necessary slowdown in the economy is running above potential, one cannot overlook the tight labor markets, wages and production, and supply chain shortages affecting an organization’s growth model. These various elements affecting the economy underpin the economy for 2022 (excluding politics). Effective executable plans that help sustain and grow an organization need to be aggressively examined and vetted out for realistic expected results.”

In July, job openings in the US increased to 10.1 million from about 9.5 million in June, representing a fourth straight record high. However, John thinks that it is not just new job creation. This is because quits and resignations also increased, with most resignations coming from the hospitality, retail, casino, and accommodation sectors.

There is no doubt that, as with most industries, the COVID-19 health pandemic left its mark on the US casino, hospitality and gaming markets.

However, as the travel industry gradually recovers, John opines that large full-service lodging facilities, such as casinos, resorts, and convention hotels in the US, will provide more employment opportunities in the hospitality sector. He also thinks that with new developments in these industries as a whole, the 2022 job outlook is expected to be brighter and more promising compared to previous years.

Getting Employees Back on the Job

To address these hiring and recruitment problems, hospitality and casino industry recruiters and their clients are suggesting new and unprecedented tactics to attract talent. For instance, in addition to providing basic benefits like healthcare insurance and paid time off, John James explains, hospitality and casino employers could include perks like covering cellphone bills.

Another perk could be providing research and development (R&D) or continuing education stipends, where a chef could purchase cookbooks, take classes, or dine out, and then submit receipts for reimbursement.

The best thing about these methods is that they are ideal for workers and save the business or company on conventional employment taxes, as it is non-payroll compensation.

Potential Job Opportunities and Skills Required in Hospitality and Casino Industries

The fields of hospitality and casino gaming require professionals who have a broad variety of skills, passion, and experience. It is worth noting that the specific qualifications and experience vary depending on the specific establishment. For instance, for larger hotels and casinos, most administrative and management roles would have to be filled by a person with the right degree. Or, the company would have to hire a candidate with industry expertise and suitable leadership capabilities.

On the other hand, other positions and roles can be occupied by somebody with a high school diploma or GED. In addition, John James thinks that with higher wages and salaries out of the question, employing organizations will need to look to other ways to recruit workers. An employee who is getting more from their career than only wages will be more inclined to stay with the company.

And that is not all: They are more likely to enjoy their fulfilling career, and offer better service and more benefits for the company. There are several ways to increase the value workers receive from their jobs. Although some methods have higher costs than others, it is vital to focus on the benefits the employees and employing organizations will receive in the long run.

“Proactive companies will place a keen focus on tactics beyond what they have utilized in the past to yield meaningful results.” —Michael Peltyn, Senior Human Resources Consultant; former Sr. VP and Chief HR Officer at The Drew Las Vegas.

According to Michael Peltyn, a Senior Human Resources Consultant, 2022 presents an entirely new playing field when it comes to sourcing, hiring, and retaining the best talent. He further added that “Proactive companies will place a keen focus on tactics beyond what they have utilized in the past to yield meaningful results. This may include a combination of strategies, including differentiating themselves from their competitive set regarding terms of employer branding (defining why your company is a top place to work). Next, organizations should expect to offer at least market-level pay in this job climate.”

Michael also emphasizes the importance of the automation of a candidate’s experience. Doing so provides flexibility and saves valuable time for both the company and the prospective hire. Finally, employers should carefully consider and implement the ability for staff to work remotely whenever it is feasible. This strategy alone will significantly pique the interest of job seekers who seek this type of flexibility and view it as a major perceived and appreciated benefit.