The Springfield hospitality industry is facing hiring difficulties as travel and spending begin to bounce back from pandemic-forced shutdowns.
The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the current workforce at local hotels, restaurants, retailers, attractions and other hospitality businesses is around 19,700. That's down from 22,100 employed in the Springfield hospitality industry in March 2020 but up significantly from a low of 13,100 in April 2020, according to a news release.
“The hiring struggle is real," said Cara Walker Whiteley, president of the Springfield Hotel Lodging Association, in the release. “It is wonderful that business is increasing, but we went from having too many employees a little over a year ago when business was halted because of the pandemic to now where we are in full ramp-up mode and there aren’t enough people working to meet the demand.”
The hiring shortage means existing employees are working extra hours and preforming cross-departmental duties, officials say. It's also resulted in a competitive marketplace for employees among hospitality property owners.
“It’s a fiercely competitive market where hotel employers are offering much higher starting wages than we were prior to COVID," said Whiteley, who also serves as general manager at La Quinta Inn & Suites Airport Plaza, in the release.
Hoteliers reportedly are utilizing sign-on and referral bonuses, as well as flexible schedules, to attract workers. Potential employees interested in available jobs are being encouraged by CVB officials to visit online hiring platforms such as Indeed and Facebook.
The latest unemployment rate in the Springfield metro area was 3.9% in February, a drop from 4.2% in January, according to past reporting.
Executive Editor Christine Temple discusses Harmony House’s iCare movement.
Both Jeramey and Julia Henson talk about their experience in PDR (paintless dent repair), and elaborate on the need for efficient time management. Sometimes you need to know when to move on to the next project. Jeramey and Julia Henson are co-owners of the HM Dentworks Academy with Chris McWhirter.
Jessica Oliva, owner of Pickles and Buns food truck and co-owner of Tinga Tacos, says not to assume you know everything. She says her time in the industry has taught her that she always has more to learn.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, explains what entrepreneurs should know about starting the customer discovery phase for launching your great tech business idea. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliot describes the trends she sees in small towns after the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. She says that people see opportunity in these rural places they might not have seen before. Elliott is the Executive Director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group.
Sean Thouvenot, vice president of Branco Enterprises, gives an overview of what the process looks like once you have decided to invest in a new building. This video is sponsored by Branco Enterprises.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach for Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football team, talks about team cohesion. He says that despite the fact he may not look the part of a coach, the men look past it to see how they can work together.
Barak Hill, a professional musician living in the Springfield area, recounts when he first realized he could take his music career seriously. He recounts his journey to the point when he realized his passion could do more than pay for itself.
Rachel Barks walks through her experience as an interior designer and a basic understanding of what she considers when looking at an interior space. Barks currently owns Artistree Pottery, a business she started in 2020 after a career in interior design.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen, co-owners of TCI Graphics, offer the Bible as a part of our booked series. The Meinsens discuss how they feel the Bible impacts their perspective on their day to day operations.
Steve Williams, owner of Crosstown Barbecue, recounts how he took over the business from his father. He encourages business owners to do their best. Despite being in business for over fifty years, Steve says not every decision he made for Crosstown Barbecue worked out.