By Angela Rose, Hcareers.com
Nice guys finish last. Only the good die young. Good workers don’t get jobs. The first is a well-known saying of debatable validity. The second is courtesy of the illustrious Billy Joel. And the third is on its way to becoming an unofficial tagline of the current employment environment—or, at least, that’s how it feels for many of the 12.7 million unemployed Americans still diligently searching for the next rung on their career ladders. Unfortunately, hospitality workers are not immune to the current employment climate. Here are three reasons we believe employers are leaving these good workers out of the job market.
Reason #1: The market favors employers
With so many professionals looking for work, competition is fierce for jobs in any industry, including hospitality. As a result, employers feel they have the luxury of holding out for exactly the right candidate—whether that means someone who will work for less than the going market rate, someone who has experience doing exactly the same job so he/she requires no training, or someone who miraculously meets the convoluted requirements created when two or more positions are combined.
In the meantime, restaurants, hotels and resorts believe they can rely on their current staff to deal with the workload overflow, because none of them want to become another unemployment statistic.
Reason #2: Technology gets in the way
The recession forced many companies to make tough decisions, including staff cuts. Many reduced or eliminated their human resources departments. Others have always relied on department managers to recruit and hire. So shuffling through the dozens, hundreds or even thousands of resumes and applications a job posting generates can fall to a single individual.
To make the hiring process more manageable, a number of these businesses turn to application tracking systems (ATS). In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report, statistics show that at least 50 percent of mid-sized companies and nearly 100 percent of large organizations use ATS to screen candidates. This automated software searches the applications or resumes submitted for specific requirements, rejecting those that are not exact matches.
As a result, qualified candidates may be rejected not because they lack the skills required to do the job, but because their application did not include the keywords or other requirements that the software was searching for. For example, a resume submitted by a chef with a culinary degree and three years of real world experience could be relegated to the electronic trash bin because he did not mention a specific cuisine programmed into the system.
Reason #3: Fewer employees mean lower payroll costs
Many businesses take a simple approach to accounting: money in minus money out equals profits. When an employee leaves and his or her work is absorbed by the rest of the staff, that equation tends to show an increase in profits— at least of the short-term variety. This encourages the decision makers’ beliefs that they can take their time to fill that vacancy.
What these companies fail to consider is the long-term effect of overburdening their workforce in this way. For example, if the quality of service found at a popular hotel suffers because of staff burnout, then that will eventually cost the business customers. If a previously stellar restaurant begins to produce so-so fare because the sous chef has to do all the prep as well, some people will begin to eat elsewhere.
Chronic workforce shortages also increase the likelihood that current employees will move on to greener pastures, perhaps at the next restaurant or hotel that offers them a job. As mentioned earlier, businesses want to hire people who do not require training, so it’s quite possible this could happen.
If you’d like to explore this issue further, we recommend the fascinating book Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, by Peter Cappelli.
Read more hospitality career tips. Find more hospitality jobs by visiting the career center.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.