Examining the Evolving Landscape of Hotel Employment Shortages in Canada and the USA

The hospitality industry, particularly the hotel sector, continues to grapple with a significant employment shortage across North America. While the initial shock of the pandemic may have subsided, navigating this complex issue remains a crucial challenge for hotel owners, managers, and industry professionals.

Assessing the Current Landscape:

Recent data paints a concerning picture:

  • Canada: The Hotel Association of Canada reports that nearly 67% of accommodation businesses consider labor shortages a significant business impediment. Statistics Canada data indicates that 64% of businesses in accommodation and food services expect to face labor shortages in the next three months.
  • USA: The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) states that the industry is 1.8 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. A recent survey by the National Restaurant Association found that 76% of restaurant operators are facing a significant worker shortage.

Hardest-Hit Positions:

Across both countries, specific positions are proving particularly difficult to fill:

  • Housekeeping: This role consistently tops the list, with 42% of Canadian hotels reporting difficulty filling housekeeping positions (source: The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council).
  • Front Desk: Filling front desk positions remains challenging, with 38% of Canadian hotels struggling (source: The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council). Similar challenges are reported in the USA.
  • Food & Beverage: All areas within food and beverage services, including chefs, servers, and bartenders, face significant shortages.

Improvements and Remaining Challenges:

While some improvements are evident, significant challenges remain:

  • Wage increases: Many hotels have implemented wage increases to attract and retain staff. However, the rising cost of living necessitates continued adjustments to remain competitive.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Offering flexible schedules and remote working options, where possible, can be attractive to potential employees.
  • Focus on employee experience: Prioritizing employee well-being and career development opportunities can foster a positive work environment and reduce turnover.

Challenges to Overcome:

  • Shifting worker preferences: The pandemic may have led some individuals to reconsider career paths, potentially leaving the hospitality industry.
  • Competition from other sectors: The hospitality industry competes with other sectors offering potentially higher wages and better benefits.
  • Immigration policies: Simplifying immigration processes for skilled workers in the hospitality sector could help alleviate shortages, but navigating policies remains complex.


The hotel employment shortage remains a complex and evolving issue in both Canada and the USA. While some improvements are underway, sustained efforts are needed to address the challenges. By offering competitive wages, flexible work arrangements, and a positive work environment, hotels can position themselves to attract and retain talent in this competitive landscape. Additionally, collaboration with industry associations and policymakers is crucial to advocate for solutions, such as streamlined immigration processes, that can support the long-term health of the hotel industry in North America.