Spain struggles with staff shortages in the catering industry in the middle of high season

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catering industry is suffering

MADRID – The fifth corona wave has brought many more uncertainties. And as such, employees from the catering industry have looked for alternative work. However, now in the peak months when the sector can recover some of the losses suffered, there is too little manpower. 

According to data from staffing agency Adecco, many bar and restaurant staff are now working in other sectors. Most found a job in construction, but industry and agriculture also attracted many employees from the hospitality industry. In these three sectors, there is plenty of work that, according to Adecco. Futhermore, it is also better paid than work in the hospitality industry. 

Problem all over Spain 

The consequences of the pandemic for the hospitality industry in Spain are immense. Numerous bars and restaurants were forced to close their doors. Furthermore, the hospitality industry has lost 46.3% during the pandemic, according to an American Express survey. Data from the CCOO union shows in the second quarter of 2021, more than 1.4 million people were employed in the hospitality industry, which was 135,000 fewer than before the start of the pandemic. Undoubtedly, this has led many service workers to look for alternative work, not just in the tourist areas, but across the country. 

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Catering industry not attractive anymore 

During the pandemic, employees in the hospitality industry not only lost regular income but also additional income from tips. These often make up a significant part of the monthly income. In Alicante, for example, a waiter earns about €1,200 gross per month for a 40-hour working week. However, between €200 and €500 per month can be added in tips. Furthermore, irregular working hours have made it attractive for many employees to look for work in another sector. 

President Martín Méndez of the trade association for the catering industry in León indicates that the people who still want to work in the catering industry lack the necessary experience. In fact, the Castile and León district council is already training 3,500 potential employees for ministry work because of the dire shortage in this sector. Within Spain, only the island of Mallorca now has enough staff to work in bars and restaurants. 


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