Labor market: workers migrate: hospitality industry loses in pandemic – economy

The restaurant in Schwerin is looking for staff for service and kitchen. Photo: Jens Büttner / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa

The uncertain times of the corona pandemic have brought about a movement in the labor market. One industry lost an above-average number of employees, while another particularly benefited from it.

Nürnberg / Cologne – It’s about working conditions and safety, it’s about recognition – and ultimately money. During the crown pandemic, many people were forced to change jobs – or were voluntarily looking for a new job.

The hotel industry is clearly a loser, according to a new study by the German Institute of Economics (IW). Hotels and restaurants lost around 216,000 employees in 2020 alone, the authors of the study write, citing Federal Employment Agency data.

Retail has proved to be an area of ​​interest for workers who migrated during the corona pandemic, especially from the hospitality industry. Almost 35,000 employees who have left the catering industry have found new sales jobs, such as cashiers. What was initially intended as a temporary solution has in many cases become a permanent option in many cases – perhaps due to more family-friendly working hours among other things.

Discount stores tempt with lucrative offers

The discounters Aldi and Lidl have also fueled the trend with lucrative offers. For months now, they’ve been advertising offers with a starting wage of at least € 14 – well above a future minimum wage of € 12 and with a promotion prospect, at least for young people.

According to the research at the disposal of the German Press Agency, about 27 thousand. people moved from the catering industry to the transport and logistics industry, e.g. as drivers of courier services. About the same number would be employed in the field of business management, for example as secretaries. According to the study, however, not only mini-workers are leaving the catering industry. According to the study, the departures from June 2020 to June 2021 covered almost 60 thousand. employees subject to social security contributions – a decrease by 10.3%

“In no other professional area is the decline so strong, neither in absolute terms, nor as a percentage,” analyze the authors Anika Jansen and Paula Risius about gastronomy. It is most noticeable there. Even flagship companies have to close or take extra days off, says Thomas Geppert, managing director of the German Association of Hotels and Restaurants in Bavaria. Hotels could no longer make full use of their rooms due to a lack of staff.

“You need more flexible working time models”

Geppert calculates that, for example, the catering industry needs six times as many employees as the retail trade to achieve the same turnover. It’s no wonder that an industry that employs so heavily is particularly hard hit during the pandemic. Especially that many mini-workers during the blockade were not rewarded with part-time work and therefore were forced to look for something new. In the case of permanent employees, the departure of 8.5 percent. in Bavaria it is less dramatic.

It is clear to Geppert that the industry still has a long way to go to retain its employees. “We need more flexible working time patterns,” he says. But politics and administration can help too. For example, with easier access to visas for foreigners from non-EU countries, such as the Western Balkans. “I don’t think it is possible to fill the gap in Germany.” The new collective agreement provides for “drastic wage increases”. Probably also because the share of tips in earnings is decreasing, incl. due to increasing card payments.

Another industry also wants to solve its HR problem through payments – airports. For example, at Nuremberg airport, a new company collective agreement is in force, according to a spokesman. With a starting wage of € 12.50, workers in the lowest group with overnight and vacation bonuses would quickly reach the average hourly wage of € 14 to € 16.

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