The majority of decision-makers taking part in the WTM Industry Report 2022 believe travel is an attractive sector to work in – but the industry is currently struggling to recruit.
When asked: “Do you see the travel industry as an attractive industry to work in?”, seven in 10 (70.5%) answered “yes”, while 14% answered “maybe”.
About one in eight (13%) believe the opposite, although almost all who said “no” qualified their answer by saying it wasn’t an attractive industry to work in “at the moment”.
The report is based on research carried out among WTM London’s senior buyers, exhibitors and visitors.
When asked: “What is your biggest issue in attracting talent?” industry executives were split equally on uncompetitive pay (22%) and lack of suitable candidates (22%).
Reputation of the industry (14%) and Government regulations, immigration rules and Brexit (11%) are number three and four biggest issue employers face in attracting talent.
After that, one in 10 travel bosses (10%) say the biggest issue is loss of staff to other industries, while another 10% said travel is competing with other industries when it came to recruiting candidates.
Working hours and training times are also seen as the biggest issues in attracting talent, by 6% and 2% of respondents respectively.
When asked: “How are you addressing the talent issue?”, 27% are offering flexible working to attract more staff; 24% are offering more incentives; 17% are more open to recruiting people from outside the industry; 14% are paying higher salaries; 11% are offering greater career prospects and 2% are offering more holiday entitlement.
In a bid to retain existing staff, 45% of travel companies have already started to offer better conditions, with a further 22% preparing to offer better conditions/incentives soon and another 17% considering doing so.
Only one in 10 (10%) said they don’t intend to offer any improved conditions/incentives as a way to retain staff, with the remainder unsure at the present time.
When asked: “What sort of conditions/benefits are you offering?” 57% of respondents say they are offering training and progression opportunities in order to try to keep current staff; 48.5% are offering flexible working; 38% are offering a pay rise, while 37% are offering ‘enhanced benefits’.
Other ways in which companies are hoping to retain staff are by offering free food (offered by 21% of respondents); free travel (20%); discounts (16%) and sabbatical (3%). At the bottom of the list is free or onsite childcare – offered by just 1% of respondents.
In a separate WTM London survey, carried out among 2,000 members of the public across the UK, 60% of respondents said they ‘did not see the travel industry as an attractive industry to work in’, with only 29% saying they did.
Juliette Losardo, World Travel Market London Exhibition Director, said:
“Our survey among key travel executives shows most think it is an attractive career prospect – yet they are struggling to recruit and the question is how do they bridge that gap? “
“Although it’s great to see companies offering more incentives and benefits to retain existing staff or to attract new recruits, the fact remains the industry is still understaffed, and the public doesn’t currently see travel as an attractive industry to work in. “
“Could it be that travel companies need to be more proactive and innovative when it comes to offering attractive incentives that people really need?”
“For example, only 1% of respondents offer free or onsite childcare and we know that costly childcare is one of the key reasons that women in particular feel unable to return to work after starting a family. “
“Two thirds of travel’s key decision makers who took part in the WTM London 2022 Industry survey are men. “
“Perhaps if more attention was given to incentives that could entice women back into the workplace, such as more help with childcare, then travel companies wouldn’t have such a struggle to fill their vacancies and we may see more women who are mothers able to move up the travel industry ladder.”