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Las Vegas Hospitality Industry's Workforce Dynamics Builds Resilience

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Las Vegas, renowned for its vibrant tourism and hospitality sector, continues to grapple with the aftermath of the pandemic-induced turmoil that rocked the industry.

Despite three years having elapsed since the initial shockwaves, the path to recovery remains arduous. The city's core, which thrives on a robust inflow of visitors, is now facing a formidable staffing crisis, emblematic of a broader challenge affecting many industries across the nation.

Related: Las Vegas Hospitality Adapts to New Job Trends and Challenges.

Giants Wrestle with Workforce Woes

The iconic Westgate Resort, a cornerstone of Las Vegas' hospitality landscape, is presently confronted with the uphill task of filling 200 vacant positions. With a sprawling expanse encompassing nearly 3,000 rooms, maintaining a complete workforce is not merely a goal but a necessity. However, sourcing suitable candidates has evolved into a perplexing ordeal.

Just the tremendous growth of new businesses, there’s a lot of opportunities out there, so we had to become a lot more aggressive in our recruiting because that’s a big number to be down.
We really pride ourselves here in building a family environment and a culture where people feel recognized and a part of things.

Gordon ProutyVP of Public Relations and Community Affairs at Westgate Las Vegas Resort

He pointed out that some workers have chosen alternative career paths post-pandemic, either retiring or seeking remote work options.

For Westgate, retaining its existing staff has become as crucial as recruitment. In response, the resort has opted to raise wages and foster a workplace culture that emphasizes camaraderie and recognition.

However, the challenges are not unique to Westgate alone. Renaissance Catering, a Las Vegas establishment with a 35-year legacy, is also navigating the tumultuous terrain of post-pandemic recovery. The catering industry, hit particularly hard during the pandemic, continues to grapple with reduced event numbers.

Even after the pandemic, we’re nowhere near back to where we used to be. We’re getting there, but I mean the sales still aren’t pre-pandemic, not even close.
If I need five people, right now I’ll probably end up asking for 10 people, maybe eight or nine people to come in. Cause I know three to four of them are not going to show up. Unfortunately, it’s just the way things are right now. And it is frustrating.

Reymundo CortezCo-owner and Chef at Renaissance Catering

Redefining Resilience

Cass Shum, an associate professor at the UNLV College of Hospitality, highlighted that job insecurity and the strenuous nature of the industry contribute to a dwindling interest in hospitality roles. Shum also pointed to the growing prevalence of service robots and self-service kiosks in mitigating the workforce shortage. However, she noted a lingering concern among workers about the long-term viability of their roles.

The confluence of factors shaping the current predicament has no quick fix. As Las Vegas witnesses an influx of sporting events and corporate relocations, the demand for skilled personnel intensifies. The ardent competition for the same talent pool echoes the broader narrative of the nation's labor market, where the pandemic's ripple effects continue reverberating. In this environment, Las Vegas' hospitality industry is not merely vying for recovery but aiming to redefine resilience.

Related: Nevada Casinos Continue to Set New Revenue Records.

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