A major campaign has launched to boost perceptions of careers in hospitality and tourism, helping to attract new talent and tackle staffing challenges.
Recruitment has been a priority concern for employers in hospitality and tourism, which when compounded by the impact of COVID-19, has left many businesses struggling to recruit a full workforce, resulting in closures and scaled back service.
To confront this head-on employer-led network the Hospitality & Tourism Skills network (HATS) has partnered with Tourism NI to spearhead a multi-channel advertising campaign to promote the breadth of exciting opportunities that the industry has to offer potential job seekers.
Going live on 31 January 2022 and running until the end of March 2022, the campaign features a series of quirky eye-catching job descriptions across billboards, outdoor advertising and social media to attract attention and highlight the dynamic and fast-paced roles available, helping to attract new recruits.
Roisin McKee, Director of HATS said the campaign seeks to encourage people to join an industry that is looking to come back, bigger and better than ever.
She explained: “There are incredible opportunities for people to join hospitality and tourism and experience rewarding careers at all skill levels and this campaign is designed to help us get that message out.
“Working with industry and partners we want to help combat the staffing challenges and support the recovery of the industry by challenging perceptions and promoting the exciting and diverse opportunities on offer right now, helping to support recruitment and drive retention.
“Many employers are working harder than ever to attract and retain talent by making fundamental changes to offer a better quality job experience, so jobseekers can expect to be well looked after.”
As part of the campaign, employers are invited to advertise their vacancies for free on the CareerScope campaign jobs portal.
Supporting the campaign, the Department for the Economy (DfE) Minister said: “This important campaign highlights the many opportunities for employment across all disciplines in the Tourism and hospitality industry and shows an encouraging future for a resilient sector as it seeks to recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Attracting and building a skilled workforce to meet industry’s requirements, both now and in the future, are vital in helping to drive recovery in the sector and ensuring Northern Ireland is able to compete on the global stage and maintain its reputation as a world class tourism destination.”
The campaign will be addressing three key priorities for the sector, those are to Attract, Retain and Engage employees and jobseekers as part of a wider Tourism Recovery Action Plan and the NI Skills Strategy.
Tourism NI Director of Strategic Development David Roberts said: “Recruiting into the hospitality and tourism sector has been challenging for a number of years due to the speed at which the industry has grown, tackling this alongside reducing staff turnover, are both clear priorities for the sector.
“We are delighted to be working with the Hospitality & Tourism Skills Network to deliver this awareness campaign which will boost the message that the sector is a positive career choice. Attracting and building a skilled and sustainable workforce is key to ensuring that tourism can recover and return to the levels of success achieved in the years up to 2019.
“We strongly encourage employers to register now to take advantage of promoting their vacancies for free to benefit directly from the campaign.”
The HATS network, set up in December 2019, brings together a diverse mix of employers from across the hospitality and tourism sector alongside industry associations and key delivery partners from government and education in order to collectively address issues around sector image, attractiveness and skills development into and within the sector.
The HATS network project is supported by Invest Northern Ireland under its Collaborative Growth Programme.
Supporters of the recruitment campaign include the NI Hotels Federation, NI Tourism Alliance, Hospitality Ulster, Bus and Coach NI, Springboard, Invest NI, Institute of Hospitality, Ulster University, the six FE colleges, the Department for the Economy and Department for Communities.