Why Are US Travel Jobs Vacant?

by: Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor |

“Despite strong job growth, a staggering 1.7 million leisure and hospitality jobs are open – a concerning figure as we head into the peak summer travel season. Travel is essential to our nation’s economy, but its success is reliant on access to workers to serve the traveling public,” said U.S. Travel Association President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Freeman.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics February employment report shows continued new jobs and growth, yet the hospitality industry has been struggling with staffing shortages since COVID reared its ugly head even though the health field and workforce has moved beyond this devastating hurdle.

Around 80% of hotels are reporting staffing shortages in the US according to data published last month by AHLA (American Hotel & Lodging Association. To combat this shortage, hotels have rallied back with higher pay, more benefits, and scheduling flexibility, but with little success.

Today, hotel jobs are offering an average pay of $23 per hour.

However, even immigrants with work visas are not applying for hospitality jobs. Equivalent jobs paying that much include a Field Surveyor, Forklift Operator, Machinist, and Call Center Representative. Why is the typical U.S. hospitality workforce not applying? To this, U.S. Travel President Freeman said:

“One way the federal government should address our workforce shortage is to increase the allotment of H-2B visas, which is at least 100,000 short of demand, to provide the industry with the temporary workers it so desperately needs.”

During the pandemic, many hospitality employers were forced to let staff go, but now as the industry is breathing new life, many workers who had to find other sources of income just do not want to go back to their former jobs.

Additionally, during COVID, artificial intelligence took over many jobs as hospitality companies searched for way to stay afloat. In the hospitality industry today, 59% of workers expressed concern about AI’s impact on their jobs. In fact, overall, research reveals that over 1 in 3 (35%) Americans are worried about the possibility of AI making their professions redundant.

Full article: Why Are US Travel Jobs Vacant?
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