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.
Delays push $4.5M renovation project into 2021.
This poll is not a scientific sampling. It offers a snapshot of what readers are thinking.
Local Musician Barak Hill talks about how he started writing music and earning money from his skills. He says his first motivation to start making money was to get music to pay for itself.
Heather Kite, owner of startup business Rooted Deep Farms, talks about tough times during the winter of 2020-2021. She says determination was a necessary component that kept her going.
Jeramey and Julia Henson, co-owners of HM Dentworks Academy, discuss the importance of family in work-life balance. They say you can’t make up for the major life events. HM Dentworks Academy is also co-owned by Chris McWhirter.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistry Pottery, talks about her struggle with PXE, or Pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a disease that affects the eyes. She says that despite her struggle, she is ultimately thankful.
Jessica Burkland, a Missouri State University business instructor in the Department of Management, talks about small business start-up trends in a post-pandemic year. Burkland, who owns Activate Consulting & Training and volunteers as a small business mentor for SCORE of Southwest Missouri, says startups that offer new services and products to help people work from home or that enhance mental health could find greater success.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen, co-owners of TCI Graphics, say the past year has been one of the toughest they have faced. Now in the company's 50th year, the couple says they learned a few things in 2020.
Charlie Rosenbury, president of Self-Interactive, calls on his experience in programming to illustrate lessons he has learned running a business and life in general. Springfield Business Journal's 90 Ideas is presented by Great Southern Bank.
Darline Mabins talks with SBJ’s Christine Temple about growing up after a tragic accident took the lives of her mother and older brother. Mabins is now the regional branch sales manager for Arvest Bank. No Ceiling is an SBJ podcast, going in depth with local women, sharing their journey to the top of their professions.
Caleb Scott, owner, coach and player for Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football team, talks about the ways that the team works to support each other on and off the field. Scott says you can’t force people to become leaders, they have to come naturally.
Steve Williams, owner of Crosstown Barbecue, discusses the role relationships have played throughout the 51 years that Crosstown Barbecue has been in business. He says that while he puts effort into providing the best food he can, ultimately “people like to do business with people they like.”