A lot of jobs were available at the Guilford County Hotel Association Job Fair held at the Greensboro Marriott Downtown at 304 N. Greene St. Friday, April 16.
The hotel industry was well represented with tables manned with plenty of personnel. Some even had cookies and goody bags for potential employees.
The problem was that not many job applicants showed up. In over an hour of observation of the job fair that was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., only one potential candidate was in the room.
It’s definitely a COVID-19 issue. During the shutdown, hotels were pretty much shut down also. People weren’t traveling and events that attract people to Greensboro – sporting events, entertainment and even weddings and funerals –were canceled or held with only a small number of people.
But now, as things are opening back up, albeit slower than many people desire, the hospitality industry is picking back up and needs employees.
Kurtis Reynolds, the director of front office for Grandover Resort and Conference Center, said, “We are currently interviewing proactively for when business picks up. We have the appropriate amount of staff to keep customer satisfaction where it needs to be.”
John Martiere, food and beverage assistant director for Grandover, said, “It’s definitely a struggle.”
He said that it was particularly difficult to fill the lower wage jobs and attributed some of the reluctance of people to go back work the increased unemployment assistance they were receiving.
Reynolds and Martiere both said they had a problem with people filling out applications being told they had a job and never showing up for work. They said that happened in about 40 percent of the cases.
Other hotel management folks at the job fair hoping to hire people agreed off the record that they were having the same problems filling staff positions and with people not showing up for the first day of work.
One prospective employer explained that it was difficult to get people to come to work for $10 or $12 an hour when the current unemployment benefits worked out to about $13.75 an hour. Several people said it was extremely difficult to convince people to come to work every day and make less money than they would if they stayed home.
Martiere said that another problem he had found was that when people got laid off from the hospitality industry, they decided to change careers to something that they thought would be more stable.
He said, “There are fewer people coming to look for employment than there are jobs.”
Several people noted that right now they were making do by having people cross-trained and having supervisors filling in where needed, but as business continues to pick up, they are going to need more staff and currently it’s a real struggle to find people who want to work.