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Ireland National Workshop recap | A Solution-Focused Approach to Attracting and Retaining Staff in Tourism

In a joint event organised by the Pantour Consortium, and the Pact for Skills for Tourism (PfST), which promotes joint action through the establishment and implementation of large-scale skills partnerships at national, regional and local levels, on the 17th of February, we brought together panellists in Dublin to discuss this urgent issue in the industry.


About the solutions to the issue of staff shortages

A current priority for Tourism and hospitality employers across Europe is to find solutions to the issue of staff shortages in the sector. This shortage is a result of large numbers of workers, leaving the sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the current recovery phase, attracting and retaining staff is a key concern. This event will present some solutions by exploring case studies on innovative recruitment and retention approaches, policy solutions, and building new career pathways.

This panel discussed a solution-focused approach the emergence of initiatives to attract and retain staff in tourism and hospitality across Europe.


Facts, figures and insights | European Commission

To get a European perspective on the issue, Ms. Elfa Kere (Policy Officer – Tourism at European Commission – GROW) was invited to talk about the initiatives of the European Commission. Her presentation provided interesting figures and data and considerations on attracting and retaining skilled staff in the tourism ecosystem. As she mentioned, 2023 is the European year of Skills which means the European Commission puts skills centre-stage. Having a workforce with the skills that are in demand contributes to sustainable growth, leads to more innovation and improves companies’ competitiveness.


In line with the Pantour project, a common approach on the development of green skills, digital skills and social/soft skills in tourism is one way to tackle the skills shortages. The European Skills agenda provides even more actionpoints and deliverables on this topic.


Some considerations to take into account as well is that (Lack of ) Skills might not be the biggest barrier to entry into the labour market, it could also be:
• Attractiveness of the job itself
• Pay, working conditions, flexibility, limited contracts
• Hiring staff in innovative ways – attracting youth through interesting competitions, gamification, use of the metaverse as a complement to travel and tourism?


The European Commission DG GROW tourism team will continue to support tourism businesses to the best possible extent.

If you are interested in the Skills agenda and projects related to Skills in Tourism, make sure to download the full presentation here.


A competitive market and industry research insights | Fáilte Ireland

Since the event was hosted by Technological University of Dublin in Ireland, we invited an Irish best practice to share knowledge from the Tourism Careers Dividion of the Tourism Sector Development of Fáilte Ireland. Michael Quinn is Manager of this division and his work includes driving excellence in the workplace; building the future pipeline of talent; supporting the industry to recruit and retain the most in demand roles and supporting businesses to upskill and drive career progression.


By sharing some data and metrics, it became very clear that one third of the tourism workforce is new to the sector. Michael also shared that around 66% of Irish tourism businesses, are struggling to retain key staff members. From the Labour Market Insights, it became very clear that change is needed. A better empoyee experience would lead to a greater engagement and satisfaction. And in order to erase the negative perceptions about working in the tourism sector, we need to showcase best practice and passion in the industry. See the image below for a few more actionpoints formulated by Fáilte Ireland.



As a result of Focus Groups with young people, Fáilte Ireland gained more insights in the positive perspectives of working in the tourism, adressed by the young tourism workforce professionals. Furthermore, The Fáilte Ireland Employer Excellence Programme is supporting businesses to drive great employee engagement, and continuously build the appeal of their workplace.   It will spotlight excellent employers and  help to reposition the tourism sector as a rewarding and attractive place to work. An excellent example.


Learn more about this intiative and download the full presentation here.

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