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Industry unites to plan for future employment

Industry bodies unite to plan
for future employment

News article issued on behalf of the Hospitality Standards Institute Hospitality Association of NZ New Zealand Hotel Council

New Zealand's leading hospitality organisations have combined to launch a major strategy aimed at ensuring this country’s $17.2 billion tourism industry has the employees and skills it needs to grow and prosper.

The Hospitality Standards Institute, the Hospitality Association of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Hotel Council are among a select group of tourism and hospitality-focused bodies which have come together under the umbrella of the Tourism and Hospitality Workforce.

Utilising the substantial resources available to bring input from all aspects of New Zealand’s hospitality and tourism sectors, the group has produced a document called the Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Strategy. The workforce strategy responds to the serious labour shortages forecast by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) in its 2004 Tourism Workforce & Skills Projection Report.

The BERL report warned that New Zealand’s hospitality and tourism industry needed to employ 100,000 more people to maintain and grow the industry to the year 2010.

Hospitality Standards Institute chief executive Steve Hanrahan said the ongoing skill shortages in New Zealand's hospitality and tourism sectors not only squeezed growth for the wider Kiwi economy, but also threatened to compromise the industry's ability to deliver a consistently high quality experience to customers.

"Hospitality and tourism directly and indirectly support 172,000 full-time equivalent jobs - that is one in every 10 jobs in New Zealand. These positions are spread widely across every region of the country - often in areas where few other job opportunities exist. But looming workforce shortages are a particular problem for the labour-intensive and seasonal tourism industry,” Mr Hanrahan said.

“Contingency planning to avert this shortfall has to begin now. It’s no use waiting another five years until the hospitality and tourism industries are past crisis point. That time is now.

“The Tourism and Hospitality Workforce saw the need to develop a strategic response to the issues identified in the BERL report and to act as a catalyst for an industry-wide approach to human resourcing needs. Recent Department of Labour statistics reveal that one-third of New Zealand businesses reported difficulty in finding skilled staff and that a shortage of labour was the main constraint on growth reported by almost 20 per cent of businesses,” Mr Hanrahan said.

Aiming to promote hospitality as a career choice, the Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Strategy identifies six goals and a number of recommended actions, as well as detailing numerous initiatives already underway. It also calls for hospitality and tourism employers to look at how they manage their workplaces – with particular emphasis on staff training and retention.

Hospitality Association of New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson said that employing sufficient well-trained and professional staff was critical to delivering a quality experience to customers – whether those customers were domestic or international guests. The Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Strategy would highlight to individual business operators ways in which they could work to averting the potential employment crisis.


"When Tourism and Hospitality Workforce started this process, project members believed we were dealing with a ‘workforce’ issue to which there was no single solution. After looking closely at the issues and listening to industry, it became apparent that we are in fact dealing with a ‘workplace’ issue," said Bruce Robertson commenting on the Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Strategy.

“To attract more of the right sorts of people into the industry, we – and by ‘we’ I mean industry representative bodies and the hospitality business community - need to develop coherent career paths and improve learning opportunities, pay equity, and use management practices that ensure employees feel valued.

"For quite some time now, the industry has needed to shift the job focus within hospitality from simply being seen as a 'stop gap' employer. With strong prospects for growing visitor numbers in the next decade, it is vital that the industry plans ways of overcoming the likely skill shortages that could jeopardise the long-term prospects of this valuable sector," Mr Robertson said.

Echoing similar sentiments, New Zealand Hotel Council chief executive Jennie Langley said New Zealand’s hospitality and tourism industry were constantly challenged by attracting high calibre employees who were committed to the industry in the long term.

“Tourism businesses which do not respond to this challenge face the prospect of losing staff to competing businesses and indeed other industries, which will pay them higher wages and offer more enticing work conditions and learning opportunities,” Ms Langley said.

“To achieve sustainable growth in the tourism and hospitality industry, it is essential for businesses to invest in people and skills, and in doing so, build a strong and adaptable workforce. The key to growth lies in lifting productivity. This requires a focus on the factors influencing how well people work – such as their skills and training, their pay, and how the businesses they work for are organised and managed,” Ms Langley added.

The Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Strategy outlines workforce issues and offers some solutions that Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), industry associations and Government are already implementing. It also provides contact details for those with ideas to share.

The Leadership Group - convened by the Tourism Industry Association - comprises representatives of:
* Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI)
* Hospitality Association of New Zealand (HANZ)
* Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO)
* Ministry of Tourism
* Department of Labour
* New Zealand Hotel Council (NZHC)
* New Zealand Maori Tourism Council
* Bus and Coach Association
* Sport, Fitness and Recreation Industry Training Organisation (SFRITO).

The Strategy will be available on the Tourism Industry Association's website
Leadership group participants will also be circulating the Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Strategy among their respective members – ensuring the document is seen by as many hospitality employers, training providers and allied agencies as possible.


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