The ‘war for talent’ in the hospitality industry rages across the globe, with restaurants desperate to find staff as they open up after a year and a half of hardship.
After several false starts, Upokoina George-Yates, the general manager of Churly’s Brew Bar, decided to take decisive action after his former new staff member was poached.
After a four-month search, George-Yates thought he had finally found the perfect fit for his head chef position, only for his new recruit to disappear after only three days when he a got a better offer. In order to prevent the same from happening again, George-Yates realised he would have find a way to stop staff from getting their heads turned – $20,000.
“Everyone knows the situation. Higher-skilled workers such as head chefs are few and far between,” George-Yates told Stuff.
The 18-month-long coronavirus pandemic has turned many hospitality workers away from the industry, creating a shortage of skilled labour. As restaurants look for a stable footing after a very shaky time, some have no option but to try to entice already employed staff from other establishments.
“I don’t hold any malice towards the person. The situation, however, is frustrating,” said George-Yates.
New Zealand is also experiencing a ‘war for talent’ that is seeing many Australian restaurants headhunting chefs from its nearest neighbour.
“The war for talent has begun and Australia, at the moment, has been putting the best foot forward,” said Matt Stenton, programme director at Go Tourism in New Zealand.
“The moment we opened our borders back up to Australia they started a campaign to attract New Zealand workers, we just can’t compete with the money they are offering.”
George-Yates believes that $20,000 is enough to convince a worker that they are committed to making their working environment satisfying, and a career with them feasible.
“We hope this bonus shows that employers are willing to make hospitality a viable option for someone. It will take a while, but we want to create a better idea of what hospitality is,” he said.