October 12, 2020 tourism

50% of hospitality workers furloughed or redundant due to COVID-19: study

Around half of the workforce in the hospitality industry around the world, including the UAE, are believed to have lost their regular income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of the employees, roughly 33 percent, have been on furlough, while 15 percent have been made redundant, according to a survey conducted by CaterGlobal.com, a hospitality job board.

The survey, which polled 1,500 respondents globally, including close to 700 workers in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East, revealed insights into the hospitality industry and how its employees has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The hospitality industry has taken a huge hit from the pandemic. With strict precautionary measures in place, as well as travel-related coronavirus restrictions, service-oriented businesses that rely heavily on domestic and international visitor traffic have been forced to cut payrolls.

In the US alone, more than seven million jobs, or nearly half of positions, were lost in the leisure and hospitality-related establishments, according to the data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics in its April 2020 report.

Oxford Economics, which had earlier warned of an expat exodus across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, reported in May that approximately 122,000 foreign workers in the UAE’s hotels and restaurants could lose their jobs this year as a result of the pandemic. That’s approximately 14 percent of the expected combined job losses across the country.

Career move

In CaterGlobal.com’s survey, the majority of workers in the UAE’s hospitality industry (67 percent) said they’re looking to make a career move within the next 12 months. In particular, more than half (54 percent) of them are looking to shift to another employer.

“These figures continue to cause concern and should, rightly, cause employers to sit up and consider how they might change the course of any staff considering leaving,” said Jeremy Vercoe, global manager of CatererGlobal.


The study also explored other aspects about the impact of the pandemic on hospitality workers. Respondents were asked about communication, teambuilding and goal-setting within their organisation.

When asked about how their companies handled the pandemic, 59 percent of the global respondents said they felt positive towards their employer, while one in five (19 percent) reported that they were not feeling positive about the management response they’ve seen so far.

More than half (56 percent) felt their employer communicated regularly throughout the crisis while one in three (31 percent) felt they were left in the dark.

Similarly, 55 percent felt their employer set clear expectations of the job during the crisis, while 32 percent did not.

While about half of the respondents said that they have been placed on unpaid leave or made redundant, the other 15 percent said they were asked to work from home. Just 22 percent continued to work as usual without any change.


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