Horeca: 9% more workers than before Covid

horeca et covid

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In our country, the hotel and restaurant sector is booming again. This summer, more and more Belgians are enjoying a moment on a terrace or a meal in their favorite restaurant. Employment in the hotel and catering industry has also increased as a result of this positive trend. In the Belgian hotel and restaurant sector, employment has increased by just over 40% compared to last year.

Another interesting fact is that the total number of people working in our catering sector is now 9% higher than before the coronavirus. Despite this, it is still difficult for hospitality businesses to find qualified employees. If the labor shortage had not been so acute, there would have been even more workers in the hotel and restaurant industry, according to Acerta.

Half of the staff are students and flexi-jobbers

Compared to the crisis we experienced in 2020 and 2021 due to the Coronavirus, the increase in permanent workers in the hotel and restaurant industry is not negligible either. 42.4% of workers in the hotel and restaurant industry currently have a permanent or fixed-term contract. Due to the mandatory closure of the hotel and restaurant industry, a large proportion of these employees were still on temporary unemployment two years ago. Flexible workers, which include both students and flex workers, now account for more than half (55.9%) of all workers in the sector: 34.4% students and 21.5% flex workers. 1.7% of employees in the hospitality sector are currently temporarily unemployed.

Amandine Boseret, hospitality expert at Acerta Consult, explains: “The proportion of permanent workers has almost returned to its level before the coronavirus crisis. Although this is to be welcomed, there is still an acute labor shortage in the sector, which makes it difficult for hotel and catering operators to recruit new employees. In addition, some permanent workers have been working in other sectors over the past two years to avoid staying at home on temporary unemployment. The number of flexi-jobbers and student jobbers has also returned to normal. While these flexi-job workers are usually the last to return after periods of crisis, their return is accelerating due to the departure of these permanent workers.”

How to best manage your restaurant staff?

The hotel and catering industry therefore attracts a large number of employees who only plan to work for a short period. Students, flexi-jobs or extras. Create flexible schedules adapted to your sector and the status of your employees. With labor shortages, it’s important to retain employees by offering flexible schedules, an attractive reward structure and to promote work-life balance. For example, offer your employees the option to request fewer or more hours of work. Communicate schedules in a timely manner so your employees can plan their personal activities and know what to expect.