Ex hotel employees may not look back

Bangalore Hotels

Nearly 25 percent employees of the hotel industry have quit due to the lockdown and are seeking jobs in other industries.

Employees who left the badly-hit hotel industry may not return to the grueling schedules the industry demands. The hotel industry was amongst the hardest hit due to the pandemic in 2020.

Nabanita Das left her job as a front office supervisor in March 2020 after working in the hotel industry for two and a half years. Her employer had  sent her back home without pay when the pandemic struck. “Hotels got totally shutdown. They kept one or two employees in each department, and asked the rest of the people to leave. I mean it’s not a leave, it was like leave without pay.”

She stayed on leave without pay for months, and while she was struggling to make ends meet, she started looking for jobs in other industries and is now working in the IT sector. She said that she does not wish to switch back to the hotel industry. “I cannot keep on changing my job profile every time,” she explained.

Mohan’s story is similar. He has worked in restaurants and hotels for seven years, but when the pandemic hit, he quit and is now working as a duty manager in an e-commerce giant. He said, “salary issue, work pressure, lack of staff” were reasons he left his previous job.

Arun Adiga, the executive committee member, of Bruhath Bangalore Hotels Association, said, “an estimated  25 percent of employees have left the hotel industry.” Further, he said that when the pandemic hit the industry, many employees went back to their hometown and they found opportunities there. People who are in their 20’s shifted to different industries for better opportunities.

In Karnataka, 25 percent of the hotels and restaurants are shut down, said Madhukar M. Shetty, secretary of Karnataka State Hotels and Restaurant Association (KSHRA). He said that 30 – 40 percent of employees left when the lockdown started.

“They have removed everyone and kept one general manager, assistant manager because they have to survive,” he said about the hotels in the state. After going back to their hometowns, the ex-employees have taken other jobs, and now they aren’t coming back.

A recent press release (a report of the first Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) in 2021) by the Ministry of Labour and Employment stated that there is 13 percent decline in the hotel and restaurant sector.

The hospitality industry job growth report by Naukri JobSpeak, which provides insights about the hiring trends of the various industry showed that when the pandemic hit in 2020, job growth fell to minus 57 percent in February 2020 compared to 30 percent in January 2020. The worst was April 2020 where the job growth rate fell to minus 79 percent. Although in June there was a huge jump in the growth rate climbing to 107 percent.

 The industry picked up by the end of 2020 but again the job growth rate fell from March 2021, when the second wave started. After hitting a low in May 2021, there was a significant jump in the growth rate in July.

The human Resource Manager (HRM) of a chain of hotels in Bangalore said that during the pandemic they paid their employees regularly. The HR further said the small, and medium hotels were affected the most by the lockdown, but for a chain like them, it was easier to sustain during hard times.

The hotels in Bangalore are not functioning with full occupancy even now. “The tourists are hesitant,” said the HRM of the hotel chain. They are trying to attract tourists and customers by bringing flexibility in check-in and check-out schedule, giving various offers which weren’t possible earlier. The HRM said that they are expecting the business to come back to pre-pandemic levels by November-December.

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