82% of surveyed hotels report staffing shortages

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Hotels on a hiring spree with record wages, better benefits, flexibility

WASHINGTON (June 5, 2023) – As over 80% of hotels experience staffing
shortages, hoteliers are offering potential hires a host of incentives
to fill vacancies, according to a new survey of hoteliers conducted by
the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

 Seventy-five percent of respondents are increasing wages, 64% are
offering greater flexibility with hours, and 36% are expanding benefits
– but 87% say they are still unable to fill open positions.

 Eighty-two percent of survey respondents indicate they are experiencing
a staffing shortage, 26% severely so – meaning the shortage is
impacting the hotel’s ability to operate. The most critical staffing
need is housekeeping, with 40% ranking it as their top hiring need.

 These numbers have increased slightly from January 2023 [1], when 79%
of survey respondents indicated they were experiencing a staffing
shortage. The figures have improved since May of 2022 [2], however, when
97% of survey respondents indicated they were experiencing a staffing
shortage, 49% severely so.

Respondents to the most recent survey are attempting to fill almost 9
positions per property, up from 7 positions in January but still down
from 12 vacancies per property in May 2022.

 These staffing challenges are resulting in historic career
opportunities for hotel employees. There are more than 100,000 hotel
jobs currently open across the nation [3], and as of April, national
average hotel wages were at an all-time high of more than $23 per hour
[4]. Since the pandemic, average hotel wages have increased faster than
average wages throughout the general economy, and hotel benefits and
flexibility are better than ever.

 “The need for workers throughout the lodging industry continues to
drive historic career opportunities for hotel employees, who are
enjoying record wages and better benefits and flexibility than ever
before,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “That’s why AHLA
and the AHLA Foundation remain focused on growing the industry’s
talent pipeline through workforce recruitment and retention initiatives
like the Foundation’s Empowering Youth [5] and Registered
Apprenticeship [6] programs. But there is still more to be done. We need
Congress to help address workforce shortages with bipartisan solutions,
including those that create opportunities for more immigrants to enter
the American economy.”

 As of April, the United States had nearly 10.1 million job openings
[7], but only 5.7 million unemployed people [8] to fill them, according
to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Congress can help hoteliers address workforce shortages by taking the
following actions:

    * Expand the legal H-2B guestworker program by including an H-2B
Returning Worker Exemption in the Fiscal Year 2024 Department of
Homeland Security appropriations bill. The H-2B program is vital to
helping independent hotels and resorts in remote vacation destinations
fill seasonal roles, but the program is capped at 66,000 visas each
year. AHLA is asking Congress to modify the H-2B nonimmigrant visa
program by exempting returning workers from the inadequate 66,000 annual
visa cap. These employees would provide critical staffing relief for
seasonal small business hotels and help to rebuild the post-pandemic
economy.

    * Cosponsor and pass the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act (255
[9]/H.R.1325 [10]). A historic number of asylum seekers are already
housed in hotels across America. They are awaiting court dates and are
following the legal process. Unfortunately, current law prevents them
from legally working for at least six months, forcing them to rely on
assistance from local governments and communities. This bipartisan
legislation would help hotels address critical staffing needs by
allowing asylum seekers to work as soon as 30 days after applying for
asylum.

_Methodology:__ AHLA’s Front Desk Feedback survey of 474 hoteliers was
conducted May 3-9, 2023._

 About AHLA
 The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the largest hotel
association in America, representing more than 30,000 members from all
segments of the industry nationwide – including iconic global brands,
80% of all franchised hotels, and the 16 largest hotel companies in the
U.S. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic
advocacy, communications support, and workforce development programs to
move the industry forward. Learn more at ahla.com [11].

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