In the face of record-breaking summer, the recovery is at risk from a shortage of waiters

'Waiter wanted'.

In the face of record-breaking summer, the recovery is at risk from a shortage of waiters

'Waiter wanted'. This poster is displayed at the doors of thousands to thousands of catering establishments across half of Spain. It's similar to the situation in Spain during the pandemic of pharmacies when many people wore masks.

Randstad Human Resources launched this week a campaign to recruit 1,000 people from this industry for the summer. Adecco has 1,000 more vacancies.

According to Cepyme employers, this number could rise to approximately 100,000 vacant positions on the eve a summer when experts expect that the 2019 tourist record will be broken. Madrid, Barcelona and Seville are the provinces that have the highest demand for hospitality professionals.

What is the deal? What is the secret to the paradox of the country with the highest level of unemployment in Europe? Where more than 3,000,000 people are searching for work and can't find it, yet there are still jobs available. An SOS is launched by entrepreneurs to alert the authorities to the fact that the country's economic recovery will depend on the revival of tourism. This sector contributes the most to the Spanish GDP. Without staff, it will be hard to provide the services needed and keep Spain as a major tourist destination.

Jose Luis Yzuel is the president of Hospitality in Spain. He says that it is a demanding job that requires a lot of conciliation. The highest work peaks occur when the person is most enjoying their leisure.

Although there is much discussion about the shortage of workers in the hospitality sector, this is not the only problem. This problem is also prevalent in the computer and telecoms sector, as well as in traditional activities like agriculture and construction.

The Ministry of Labor categorically denied the existence of the Great Resignation of the USA where over 4 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs. They also rejected that it was a structural problem and limited it to certain sectors and territories. The controversy surrounding this incident has been mainly generated by businessmen. Yolanda Diaz, the head of the department, blames the personnel shortage for the precarious working conditions and low wages.

It is a false, irresponsible, and demagogic message. Gerardo Cuerva, president of Cepyme, denounced it recently. He countered, saying: "In Malaga parador which I know well the businessman, that's to say the State does not manage to find the workers that he needs... And I'm sure Minister Diaz won't consider in this instance that this employer pays poorly

Reduce this problem of low wages for waiters is trivializing, defends the CEOE. They consider it an excuse for the government to not address structural reforms that would allow the Spanish labor market to be improved and the demand to be addressed.

It is clear that positions that require higher qualifications and experience are not covered. Training is also not tailored to the company's needs. According to Infojobs, 70% of restaurant workers don't have any specific qualifications.

Basque Culinary Center, a gastronomic institution, points out that there are many chefs who want to be chefs but very few waiters. Demand is not met because of a lack of recognition, difficult hours and precarious contracts.

Is it really a problem with precarious working conditions and salary? What is the average salary of a waiter? According to Adecco estimates the average Spanish salary is 17,000 euros per year and just over 1,200 euros each month. However, they can vary depending on where you live.

According to CC OO data, the minimum wage is 1,000 euros per calendar month in 14 payments.

To be more appealing, employers should not only pay a salary but also improve their working conditions. Hospitality of Spain points out that it is physically demanding and does not allow for conciliation with personal lives. They believe it is necessary to search for systems that will "improve remuneration and conditions", which can be achieved through "professionalization" and "training."

Both businessmen and unions agree that the main culprit for this sector's personnel shortage is the pandemic. Most of the 800,000.000 temporary jobs it decimated in a matter of days were in hospitality, which has been in decline over the last two years.

These workers were forced to seek work in other industries and never made it back. Angel Solves, Adecco Hosteleria director, explained to this newspaper that "sectors like agriculture or part thereof have been active ever since the birth of the covid"

Keep in mind, however, that the demand for hospitality services has nearly doubled its jobs over the past 20 years. There were one million jobs in 2000 and 1.8 million in 2019. Young people are now a third of the workforce.

Solves warns that it is possible to return foreign tourists to certain areas of our country, particularly on the islands. This makes it more difficult to find skilled labor. Solves recommends promoting deficit profiles in the sector, which will promote destinations and search for employment formulas in provinces with high levels of seasonality (sunny and beach destinations). ).

Florentino Felgueroso is Fedea's associate researcher. He admits that this sector has a "precarious" situation, which results in "worse work conditions." He warns, however, that the sector with more immigrants is the one that is experiencing the worst working conditions. This is due to the fact that there has been a decrease in the number of workers in the sector. Expert points out that almost 40% of young people in Europe, including the Netherlands, combine their studies with a job within this sector. This is something that is rare in Spain.

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