Business Transformation

USA: Half of hospitality workers have left the industry and are not thinking of returning (new survey)

A recent survey conducted by Joblist in the USA shows that many employees of the hospitality sector who lost their jobs during the pandemic are not thinking of returning back although there is a high demand for filling job vacancies.

Half of the former hospitality workers who participated in Joblist’s second-quarter survey answered that they wouldn’t return to their previous jobs. At the same time, a third of respondents reported that they weren’t even considering reentering the industry. This represents a major shift, with a large percentage of the old hospitality labour force looking to transition out of the industry. However, it is a fact that this period of time restaurants, bars and hotels in the USA are trying to find employees in order to fill vacancies.

The majority of job seekers who were asked whether they would consider working in a restaurant, bar, hotel for their next job answered they wouldn’t. More specifically, 60% of job seekers answered “no” and 40% of job seekers said “yes”. The number one reason that job seekers are not interested in hospitality jobs is that they prefer working in a different setting. This answer came from 58% of the respondents. Some others (37%) said that pay is too low and for this reason are not interested in working at the hospitality sector.

The lack of benefits (20%) and the insufficient schedule flexibility (16%) are other two reasons that were mentioned by the respondents of the survey. Furthermore, 14% of the respondents admitted that are searching for a work from home job while 9% answered that the Covid-19 risk is an inhibitor factor for choosing to work at the hospitality sector.

The pandemic made hospitality workers — many of whom were furloughed or lost their jobs — to rethink their employment situation and consider other career options for the upcoming years. A significant percentage of former hospitality workers are clearly taking advantage of the situation trying to secure higher paying and maybe less fatigue.

Talking about incentives that would probably change respondents’ mind about working in a hospitality job, 69% said that nothing would change their mind showing that they are determined of not entering the hospitality sector. This is an evidence that the strategy many restaurants, bars, and hotels are following by raising pay or offering other incentives to try to lure workers back to their open roles will not work and bring results.

At the same time, 26% said that a higher pay would make them change their mind, while 14% of the respondents would sign if there was a promise for more benefits. A signing bonus would be an incentive for 12% of the respondents and free food for just 3% of the respondents.

The survey also indicates how job seekers feel about the job market each month. The Job Seeker Confidence Index has been trending upwards since December and in June 2021 was at the highest level (67.3) since Joblist began tracking this metric. More specifically, about 43% of job seekers in May and June expected the market to improve in the next month, up slightly from the 41% of job seekers in April. This optimism is expected to grow during the next summer months. It is worth mentioning that the U.S. has a record number of job openings right now showing that things are getting better in the post-pandemic era.

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Maria Gourtsilidou
Maria Gourtsilidou is Senior Editor of Research and Data Analytics at the CEOWORLD magazine. She is responsible for driving thought leadership, using data analytics to showcase the company’s products and services, and fostering knowledge sharing between CEOWORLD magazine and client organizations. She studied Public Administration (Economics Of The Public Sector) in Greece and holds a Bachelor’s in Public Administration from the Panteion University of Political & Social Studies. Follow Maria Gourtsilidou on Twitter. Write at