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Sun 1 Apr 2007 05:15 PM

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Staff poaching on the rise

Dubai's food and beverage professionals have called for urgent measures to stop rival hotel companies poaching their staff, after several front-of-house employees have been targeted for new hotel openings recently.

Dubai's food and beverage professionals have called for urgent measures to stop rival hotel companies poaching their staff, after several front-of-house employees have been targeted for new hotel openings recently.

"I'm worried about what's going to happen as my staff have already been targeted by local and international groups. I am already witnessing the first signals of this, with staff turnover up 3% per month," said Martin Hoed, food and beverage manager, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel Bur Dubai.

Hoed said staff members have been offered 20% pay increases, which could lead to rife ‘job hopping' in the industry. He suggested that in order to tackle this, hotels should offer career progression opportunities to maintain staff loyalty among exprienced staff members.

Chandrasena Sudusinghe, executive chef at Traders Hotel Dubai, also said staff poaching was a problem, as the lack of professionalism and passion in the market meant people with these skills are sought after.

He said in order to keep staff members from leaving, employing the right training and prompting skills development was key. This sentiment is echoed across the emirate, with Robin Gomes, executive chef at Sheraton Deira Hotel claiming staff motivation and nurturing talent was critical.

"The international work experience that can be gained here is unmatched, so after a couple of years employees are seeking pastures new, which adds to the turnover ratio. It is only natural for head hunters to scout talent here," said chef Robin.

Despite a high number of hotels openings in Dubai and the need for staff at all levels, the front-of-house remains the most vulnerable with three front-of-house members at Accor Hotels World Trade Centre Dubai recently poached by a new hotel opening.

"Poaching is becoming more common in Dubai as the tourism sector is growing so quickly. Employees who have been with a hotel for two years or more are tempted by new opportunities to gain promotions and earn higher salaries," said Bruno Guilloux, general manager, Accor Hotels World Trade Centre Dubai.

"It seems that everyone is going to the same places to hire staff and this pool is becoming increasingly diluted in terms of finding people with the right qualifications and experience," Guilloux added.

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