‘The need is still there,’ high demand remains for hospitality workers

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - For the third time in four months, employers fill the Smoothie King Center looking to score new talent.

“Our members are coming to us saying, ‘the need is still there,’ said Kelly Schulz with New Orleans & Company. “We still need to find talented people.”

Schulz says they’re seeking employees like Stephanie Harris who lost her hotel job of 29 years.

“I’ve never been to a job fair because I was always at the hotel,” Harris said. “The pandemic hit, and they let a lot of us go. A lot of us that had time, they let a lot of us go.”

The fair was hosted by New Orleans & Company who says more than 60 companies were capable of conducting in-person interviews onsite and making immediate job offers. “Positions are available at all levels – from entry-level to executive – at hotels, restaurants, cultural attractions, and much more,” a news release writes.

Schulz says job seekers have a lot of control as demand to fill open positions grows, “these employers are more than ever are ready to offer competitive wages. The job seekers have their choice of offers of options.”

Jeff Wilkinson, the General Manager at Le Pavillon Hotel in the French Quarter says there’s so much demand, he is sometimes losing employees before they even start.

“It’s so competitive that we can make an offer, have an offer accepted, and before they start their first day another offers already being made,” Wilkinson said.

He says the staffing shortage is impacting guest services, to give you an idea,” Wilkinson said, “I’m really trying to find a line cook. Because I can’t open my breakfast service without a line cook. That’s a benefit we’d love to offer back to our guests.”

To entice new hires, the company is offering more money and better benefits.

As for Stephanie Harris, she’s not losing faith in scoring the next gig, “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m not going to complain because I know who’s going to make a way for me. God’s going to make a way for me.”

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