Staffing the Hospitality Industry in Wisconsin – What You Need to Know in 2017

Employers are facing a dilemma that speaks to the tourism and hospitality industry in Wisconsin loud and clear. Many of you may have been affected or experienced difficulties with staffing or maintaining staff, and you’re not alone. Employers across the state are finding it difficult to fill open positions in their companies because of the lack of available workers. Why might that be? The Taxpayers Alliance projects that by 2040 Wisconsin will see an increase of 300,000 residents within the working age. This number does not consider the generations that are moving towards retirement or the younger generations that are seeking employment in other states or regions.

How does this affect the tourism and hospitality industry in Wisconsin ?

The state is currently seeing many individuals moving out of the hospitality industry as the economy gains back strength after the recession that occurred nearly a decade ago. Hospitality during the recession was seen as an industry that fulfilled many jobs for new college graduates who were unable to find careers in their degree industry. Now as the economy shows growth and stability these individuals are finding that their experience and degrees are allowing them to explore new avenues that are not in the hospitality or tourism industry. The industry already sees seasonal shortages when J-1 Visa participants leave the United States after contributing to the hospitality workforce creating an even deeper problem for hoteliers.

Who is Being Hired?

The Institute of Hospitality found that in the hospitality industry, the people who are being employed within the ages of 18-24 are either working on a college degree or choosing a career path instead of a degree. This information is crucial for hoteliers to consider when staffing. The lodging industry in Wisconsin has some great options to help appeal to this age group. The first option is to understand the great value in providing internships within your company. Internships allow for companies to bring in new eager applicants and then to form their skills specifically to the needs of the business. Providing internship or apprenticeship opportunities is a cost efficient way for hoteliers to staff their businesses and to create learning opportunities that pertain to the hospitality industry, something that is needed for the industry to develop a strong workforce.

How can we maintain the employees we have? Rupesh Patel, CEO and hotel owner, shares some of his most helpful hints that he uses to keep his hotel staff motivated. The first big-ticket item is relating to your sales staff. Patel said, “One of the primary reasons why a lot of hotel employees resign is because they feel stuck, that they’re not growing or evolving in their jobs.” Job vs. Career Diagram
This falls back on the employer more than the employee. Employers need to understand that motivation is key! Maintaining employees is even more powerful than hiring employees. Motivating the staff at your hotels and resorts with career growth opportunities will help your employees see a future in the industry.

How Can We Help?

The most repetitive aspect that is being seen in the hospitality industry is the need for furthering the education of those who work in the hospitality industry or who show interest in the industry. For those starting out in hospitality, motivation and career opportunities are needed for an employee to stay for a sufficient amount of time. Doing so requires training and development of the employees. Creating new opportunities through internships will allow for the industry to gain exposure for job seekers and will educate people with hands on experience. Industry analysts are finding that the most successful hotels are those who invest time and training to further educate their employees; something everyone can benefit from! The graphic below provides one of many examples of how training and development can excel the careers of individuals in the hospitality industry.

Infographic on workforce



  1. […] WIGCOT also presented great information on training employees and the laws that have changed this year, necessary information for all of us to know! The Division of Employment and Training discussed how to effectively use tools to aid in recruiting and training employees to maximize profitability for your business. For more information on our tips and tricks that help in growing careers in the hospitality industry, please visit our blog Staffing the Hospitality Industry in Wisconsin – What You Need to Know in 2017. […]

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