Proposes sustainable solution
WILLEMSTAD- February 16, 2022 – CHATA, the association representing over 250 members in the hospitality and tourism sector, has taken note of the government’s recent press conference regarding the island’s current workforce situation, specifically the recruitment of employees for the soon to open Sandals Royal Curaçao. CHATA, however, emphasizes that the workforce shortage in the hospitality sector has been e problem for years. Due to the pandemic, the problem perhaps has increased, however, it is not a new phenomenon. According to CHATA, the only structural solution is a multi-track policy instead of a one-time short-term action which is more likely to create a shift instead of a solution. We must work towards a sustainable solution through initiatives with various stakeholders together and the government.
CHATA recognizes the concerns and competition for employees
Considering the strong recovery of the sector since June 2021, and looking forward, as the current pandemic is being treated more like an endemic, CHATA recognizes the concerns of the smaller businesses in the hospitality sector, as they experience this serious competition for employees more as ever. Employees being pulled from their businesses is highly discouraging for business owners, as recruitment is already a difficult task.
For this reason, CHATA proposes a multi-track policy where all organizations in the sector can benefit from. First and foremost, an urgent work-learn training program must be implemented as soon as possible. Secondly, all organizations who, despite of their attempts, were not able to fill their vacancies, must be granted a temporary permit for foreign employees to train the local workforce. Lastly, our education system must be structurally improved. The gap between offer and demand must be minimized, making a better connection to the workforce, and therefore delivering qualified local professionals within 3 to 4 years to employ at the existing and new properties.
According to various macro-economists, it is imperative to temporarily open the labor market to stimulate our economy. It is otherwise impossible to staff the various hotels, planned to open in the upcoming years. It is without a doubt challenging to recruit employees when we are looking at a growth of 30% of the current room inventory in just 2022. However, it is important that the quality and standard of our destination remain high and even improve to maintain a good reputation.
Private sector contributes
The private sector is also contributing to the solution by organizing a job fair on Saturday, 19 March 2022 in collaboration with the Curaçao Restaurant Association (CRA). Additionally, CHATA together with other hospitality partners and the government, is coordinating and executing various training programs, including the above-mentioned work-learn program.
CHATA is convinced that the workforce ‘cake’ in the hospitality sector is big enough and that everyone can have a piece and enjoy it together. Especially our local community looking to make a career switch or just looking to get to work.
More information about the Job Fair on March 19th will follow soon via the various media channels.