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Thu 9 Jul 2015 10:49 AM

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Hotel staff brace for a bumpy road

Pay packets being impacted by poor performance as employers look to streamline costs

Hotel staff brace for a bumpy road

The Hotelier Middle East Salary Survey 2015 generated more responses than ever before, with 527 hoteliers completing it, compared to 489 respondents last year.

In our 2014 survey, the region’s positive performance, and Dubai’s Expo 2020 win led hoteliers to question why the seeming success wasn’t being reflected in pay packets.

Hotelier concluded that a war for talent was set to begin as staff looked across the garden fence for better opportunities, while managers would have to up the stakes to keep their best staff.

Our predictions came true, with even fewer hoteliers in 2015 (18.6 percent compared to 21.7 percent last year) claiming to be completely happy in their current jobs. However this year employees are also more anxious to hold on to their jobs in the midst of geopolitical and economic uncertainty in the region.

Overall, 23.8 percent said they feel less secure than they did 12 months ago compared to 18.8 percent last year and the number of hoteliers that are anxious to keep their jobs has increased this year to 11.1 percent compared to last year’s 4.6 percent.

A decline in Russian visitors since quarter four 2014, coupled with the instability of the euro impacting inbound visitor numbers to the dollar-driven GCC, and political unrest in neighbouring countries repelling visitors, have led staff to report lower confidence this year than last.

Of those surveyed, 21.5 percent said the decline of the Russian rouble, and the impact this has had on tourists to the region has affected pay packets, with regards to service charges in particular.

This anxiety extends to expectations with regards to pay rises and promotions. In 2015, less respondents were expecting dramatic pay increases, with just 28.3 percent saying they anticipate a rise of more than 10 percent within the next year, compared to 33.7 percent of respondents who said this in 2014. Additionally, this year 26.7 percent said they don’t expect to be promoted in the future.

In order to hold on to staff, it will be crucial for employers to really get to grips with what motivates them to move elsewhere – and what makes them stay.

Many of the hoteliers interviewed about how best they retain staff cited training and development as key. Despite this, a majority of respondents claimed they have never been promoted (30.1 percent), while 19.9 percent said they were promoted, but more than three years ago. Just 9.4 percent were promoted within the last six months, whereas last year’s survey showed that 19.6 percent, were promoted in the prior six months.

This perhaps indicates that following the Dubai Expo 2020 win, coupled with positive performance throughout the region, employers were offering promotions, while this year, they are streamlining payroll costs to cope with poor results.

The good news is that regional hotel performance is expected to pick up in 2016, meaning the pressure may be taken off payroll costs by the start of next year.

With 626 hotels totalling 147,680 rooms under contract in the Middle East/Africa region, according to the March 2015 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report, employers will have no choice but to offer more competitive packages to attract and retain staff — and the best talent is set to reap the rewards.


Click here to read more from our Hospitality Report 2015



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