French hotel industry unable to raise wages and recruit new staff

Accor chief executive says the industry has to make its jobs more attractive, particularly in terms of working hours

The French hotel industry is on its knees, the chief executive of the hotel group Accor said on Friday, because it cannot afford to raise wages and is having trouble recruiting staff to handle the recovery as tourists return.

Sebastien Bazin, head of the world's sixth-largest hotel group, said on French radio station RMC that Accor lacks at least 2,000 employees in France as the tourism market there begins to recover and foreign visitors trickle back, although numbers remain well below pre-pandemic levels.

He said many employees had not returned "because they thought about things during the lockdown – because they moved, changed professions, were no longer willing to accept the sacrifice of the working hours".

The hospitality industry in several countries has complained of difficulty rehiring staff and some employers are trying to lure workers with higher wages.

But Mr Bazin said that was only part of the problem.

"If I have to pay more, will that be sufficient? No. Am I capable of doing that? No. That's the problem."

Mr Bazin urged the government to lower social charges on new recruits to help the sector return to full activity.

Quote
If I have to pay more, will that be sufficient? No. Am I capable of doing that? No. That's the problem
Sebastien Bazin, chief executive of Accor

"The entire hotel industry is on its knees," he said, and it needs to be able to welcome returning tourists to survive.

Mr Bazin also said the industry has to look how it can change to make its jobs more attractive, particularly in terms of inconvenient working hours, noting that it has trouble recruiting despite full training programmes.

Accor group has luxury brands like Raffles and Sofitel, to premium Pullman and budget Ibis and F1 hotels. It employs 260,000 people in 110 countries at 5,200 hotels.

Updated: November 6th 2021, 4:00 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS