Turkiye: Hoteliers struggling to find workers amid labor shortage

Although tourism activity has rebounded with the COVID-19 pandemic-related troubles put behind, the industry is now facing another problem: Labor shortage.

Turkish hoteliers are trying to overcome this problem by hiring workers from other nations, such as Turkic countries and even from Indonesia, even though this costs them more.

Hoteliers say they apply to employment offices and municipalities’ employment bureaus to find workers. Some say they even put job advertisements on the notice boards at offices of mukhtars (local heads) but all in vain.

An employee in the industry works 7.5 hours a day and six days a week.
Some 350,000 people work in Turkiye’s hospitality sector, while more than 1.2 million people are employed in the tourism industry.

Companies need to increase their current employment by 25 to 30 percent to fill the void.

The labor shortage in the tourism industry is a growing problem globally, affecting not only Turkish hoteliers but also companies in many countries.

Orkun Petekçi, COO of Elite World Hotels, complained that it is now difficult to lure those workers who quit their jobs during the pandemic back to the industry.

“A housekeeper’s salary is above the minimum wage. But still, we cannot find anyone to hire. We have no other option but to hire people from Turkic countries, Indonesia and other nations,” he said.

Indonesians account for 10 percent of their total of 1,200 staff, Petekçi added.

The tourism industry very often experiences crises, as people working in the industry do not feel they have job security, fearing that they could lose their job in a crisis, said Petekçi explaining why there is a labor shortage in the sector.

It has become more difficult to find even temporary workers after the pandemic, according to Müberra Eresin, the president of the Hotel Association of Turkiye (TÜROB).

Private employment offices are mostly working for industrial companies, making it difficult to find staff to hire, Eresin said.

Hoteliers who want to hire people from other countries face problems obtaining necessary permissions, she added.

Eresin calls for easing the rules for hiring foreign personnel, at least for the hospitality sector.

Foreign tourist arrivals in Turkiye increased nearly 24 percent in January-May from a year ago to more than 14 million, the Tourism and Culture Ministry said last week.

Including Turkish citizens residing abroad, the number of tourists visiting Turkiye stood at 15.6 million.

In May alone, foreign tourist arrivals increased by 16 percent on an annual basis to 4.5 million.

Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said last week that despite the February earthquakes and the elections held in May, the targets of welcoming 60 million visitors and generating $56 billion in tourism revenues set for 2023 will not be changed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button