No One Needs Workers More Than Restaurants

Restaurants are hiring to fill the most job vacancies of any sector.

For years now, we've discussed the ways in which restaurant staffing issues have hit the service industry hard. It started with the pandemic, which highlighted the ways in which workers have historically been treated as disposable; as COVID surged, restaurant and fast food employees left their positions en masse in search of safer work environments and better paying jobs.

The industry is still recovering from this worker exodus, and now, it's taken on a new status: Across the United States, food service has become the sector with the most positions to fill.

The restaurant industry is trying to catch up on staffing

Resume builder site Resume.io recently published a study about the industries still struggling to keep up with hiring amidst to what people have called "The Great Resignation." The researchers combed through LinkedIn's job search engine for every industry, and then calculated which one had the highest proportion of job ads in various countries and cities. They found that America's restaurant industry accounts for 7.86% of postings for open jobs right now, with non profit organizations (5.59%), motor vehicle manufacturing (4.41%), software development (4.28%), and hospitality (4.07%) coming up behind.

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This isn't just a sign of how many people have left restaurant work behind; it's also a demonstration of how many more consumers want to go out to eat more often post-pandemic. Many chains are growing at breakneck speed, and nine of America's top 10 restaurant chains grew in sales last year. It's a level of expansion that has chains hiring workers by the thousands—or trying to.

Wages are still a fluid issue right now, with restaurant groups trying to figure out best practices and sometimes angering customers with tactics like surge pricing. Many diners are fed up with paying more for a night out, even going so far as to track which restaurants charge service fees in some cities. Customer response to rising prices can make it difficult to hire more workers at livable wages. (Here in Chicago, there are currently proposals to change the base wages that tipped service workers earn, which would increase their pay greatly.)

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Resume.io notes that the Great Resignation is something of a misnomer, since all those departing restaurant workers seem to have simply taken jobs in other sectors. That still leaves restaurants with lots of holes to fill, and from my time spent working in a restaurant, I know how hard it can be to justify that grueling lifestyle long-term. A lot of changes will need to happen before restaurants are adequately staffed once again.

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