Tourism fails to shine as a destination for tech talent

The drought of talent grips the recovery of tourism. It is a sector in which there is a lack of personnel to fill many job positions. According to the report prepared by the consulting firm McKensey & Company 'How Spanish hotel companies can overcome the challenge of staff shortages', the hospitality sector (which usually employs one in eight workers) is currently under-resourced , with some 73,400 fewer employees than it had in February 2020 (a drop of 5.5%). "Even as tourism and hotel bookings recover, staff shortages remain a major threat to the sector," the report highlights. Javier Caballero, Tourism partner of the consultancy, acknowledges that with Spain's dependence on the tourism sector and with everything it has suffered, "it is surprising that the problem now is that companies are not able to meet the demand due to the flight of talent and for not having had more foresight and adapting to what the talent wants». The problem is general, but it is very significant in the most digital profiles. Analyzing the labor market in the sector, the scarcity of IT offers and the lack of technological profiles are quickly observed. This same year NECSTouR, through its Tourism of Tomorrow Lab (ToT Lab) department, has prepared an executive report for the Attraction of Technological Talent in Tourism, developed for the Valencian Community. «Visiting the job portals we have seen that few tourism companies demand these professional profiles and the remuneration they offer is below what is paid in other sectors. In other words, there is little demand and the sector itself is not attractive”, highlights José Luis Córdoba, project manager at ToTLab. Another of the difficulties they encounter in the absence of these professionals in tourism is that “their technological profile does not see the sector as an opportunity, it is not on their mind when looking for a job. They end up choosing other sectors.” And equally decisive for this shortage is the fact that "significant specialization is required to carry out IT jobs in this sector." Competitiveness There are a series of technological profiles that are very necessary in the tourism sector. «We need programmers, system technicians... who really know the tourism model. The juniors, who would be easier to attract, lack this knowledge”, indicates Córdoba. For everything related to the most advanced digital marketing, «the so-called 'frontend developer' is also very necessary. Profiles capable of pushing marketing through the web are needed », he adds. In a world in which more and more data is generated in any business, it is equally necessary to have profiles related to data analysis «and cloud computer experts». Profiles “dedicated to cybersecurity and process automation” are also essential. Not having these professionals means «losing the possibility of creating added value. It is not about billing more but about getting more margin for those who are involved in the sector. What these profiles bring is optimization”, reflects the project manager. At ToTLab they are aware of the difficulty of attracting technological talent to the tourism sector and believe that success will depend on the ability to create a community of professionals with this profile. "The real challenge has more to do with management and marketing than with technology: it consists of making the sector attractive to talent and weaving the right alliances for it," reads the document. McKensey highlights five key trends in talent acquisition that are changing the skills needed in the industry and the ways of working. One of them is « digitization , the market requires much more of this and the employees too. We must adapt to digitization and prepare employees for it, "emphasizes Caballero. Another trend is flexibility, «between being 0 and 100% flexible there is a range. You can put more flexible shifts, telecommuting, look for hybrid models when the position allows it ». The large number of unfilled vacancies and the brain drain should encourage the industry to consider more thoughtful career paths and more training. They advise, for example, that managers spend time fostering interdepartmental collaboration and identifying employees with the right multitasking skills. They also point out the growing interest of employees in environmental, social and governance issues that conditions employment options and therefore "the company must be aligned with the values ​​of the candidates." Likewise, the standards in hygiene regulations will continue to be demanding "and we must be prepared for it." Passionate In McKensey they point out that it is necessary to "attract people who have passion and a more appropriate training instead of people who choose the job because they have no other." The consultant's partner warns that it is being a splendid summer in terms of volume and prices, "but later, as it will drop with seasonality, they will analyze what happened and we believe that they will take steps in this direction." At the training level, steps are also being taken to improve the situation. The Vatel International Hotel Administration School, for example, "provides students with sector-specific technological tools," explains Adriana María Cely Álvarez, coordinator of Vatel Spain Programs. In this sense, they are trained in the use of PMS such as Opera and ClousdBeds for accommodation management and they also use tools applied to Revenue such as BeonPrice. "In the case of digital marketing, it is essential that in addition to understanding trends and strategies, they understand the flow at the level of skills for management in specific matters such as the social networks with which they work and develop projects," she adds. Pending a cultural change From the management of the Technological Hotel Institute (ITH) they are in favor of the sector facing a cultural change to make it more attractive and thus attract more talent and better prepared. Álvaro Carrillo de Albornoz, general director of the ITH, recalls that the current lack of personnel is also related to “the change in the lives of many workers in the sector after having spent a few months in ERTE. Many reconsidered their life. There is a lack of all profiles, including those with knowledge of technology. "We enter into another dilemma for tourism companies, if it is better to incorporate this type of profiles into their templates or if they outsource this part," highlights Carrillo de Albornoz. On a positive note, he highlights the existence of more and more technological startups in the world of tourism that allow the connection of the two areas.

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