Australian Venue Co is trying to recruit 500 hospitality workers from the UK in anticipation of a shortage of hospitality staff once Australia opens up. It is offering enticements such as free flights, two weeks accommodation, free training, paying moving costs, and a $1,000 drinking and dining voucher. CEO Paul Waterson claims that before the pandemic, around 20% of Australia’s hospitality staff were working holiday visa holders:
Australian Venue Co, which operates more than 170 hospitality venues across the country, has launched an ambitious recruitment drive to bring in 500 hospitality workers from the UK.
The group is trying to lure staff with the promise of a $1,000 drinking and dining voucher, and will pay for their flights to Australia, hotel quarantine and two weeks of accommodation. Paid hospitality training will commence during hotel quarantine…
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AVC is proposing to pay for the moving costs to Australia for UK chefs, as well as Australians abroad seeking to return home…
The drive will “potentially arrange charter flights”…
“We work really hard in hospitality,” [hospitality worker Chelsea] Whitehead says. “And we don’t earn that much. So I think with the uncertainty, people are losing their taste for it, and are no longer seeing the point.”
Here’s a novel idea. Instead of spending money on flights, accommodation, moving costs and $1,000 vouchers, why not simply offer higher wages and training to local workers?
As noted in the article, hospitality workers “don’t earn that much”, which means that low pay is the main barrier to attracting local staff.
The fact remains that the hospitality industry is renowned for migrant wage theft and has the lowest pay rates in the nation, according to the ABS:
So, instead of always reaching for cheap exploitable migrant workers, the hospitality industry should try to attract workers by offering decent pay and conditions? Doing so would eliminate so-called labour shortages overnight.
As long as the hospitality industry continues to offer crappy wages and conditions, labour shortages will remain. It is called a “labour market” for a reason – it too is subject to the laws of supply and demand.
Any industry that relies on cheap exploitable migrant labour to thrive is not a sustainable industry. It needs fundamental structural reform.