Study Reveals Gig Economy is Thriving in Hotel Industry

Illustration form the Gig Economy in Hospitality 2019 study
Study Reveals Gig Economy is Thriving in Hotel Industry

New study reveals gig economy is alive and thriving in the hospitality industry with nearly 76% of hotels using contractors for senior hires

Leading hospitality consultants SSP and SearchWide Global surveyed 350 contractors and hoteliers between December 2019 and February 2019

Data reveals that 74% of hoteliers want to bring in a senior-level contractor fast and 56% believe they can find them in less than two weeks

Findings suggest with the right conditions, the gig economy actually works, with 88% of contractors and 87% of hoteliers satisfied or very satisfied with the senior-level contractors

While there’s much discussion around the gig economy and what business models are the best fit for it, the new Gig Economy in Hospitality 2019 study by Strategic Solution Partners (SSP), a leading hospitality solutions provider, and SearchWide Global, a full-service executive search firm, revealed the hotel industry is, in fact, benefitting from the contractor workforce model mainly due to three factors: speed to market, senior expertise available on demand, and seamless transition.

Between December 2018 and February 2019, SSP and SearchWide Global surveyed more than 350 hoteliers and contractors in an effort to better understand what hoteliers need to succeed and how the contractor workforce can help them deliver on these results.  The unprecedented study included an online survey of 100 hoteliers and 250 contractors about task force work requiring five to 25 years’ experience as general managers, directors of sales, marketing, housekeeping, revenue management, food and beverage, and other executive positions. In addition, the study pulled from in-depth interviews with senior leaders from small to large-sized hotels and with contractors on their experience.

Feedback from this unprecedented study indicates the contractor workforce for senior leadership is thriving in today’s hotel industry:

  • 74% of hoteliers want to bring in a contractor fast, and 56% can find them in less than two weeks
  • Millennials are NOT the majority: Less than 20% are ages 22-37, 26% are ages 45-54, 45% are between the ages of 55 to 65 and 10% are 65+.
  • Nearly 88% of responding contractors have 10+ years’ experience in the hospitality industry, and more than 64% of responding hoteliers agree that contractors offer senior expertise

“With national employment rates at record highs, and an increasing number of new hospitality positions coming to market, hoteliers are challenged to find the right talent. Up until now, no data was available on the impact of the contractor workforce in senior management level in our industry,” says Bill Scanlon, President and CEO of Strategic Solution Partners. “In partnership with SearchWide Global, we’re thrilled to share the results of this first-time study which reveal that the contractor workforce is indeed alive and well in hospitality, and filling a necessary gap only made more significant due to the robust economy.”

The who, what and why of the gig economy in hospitality

Of those surveyed, senior-level contractors engaging in the gig economy in hospitality are an even split between male and female, between the ages of 45 and 65 (71%), with 10+ years’ experience (88%), have worked in more than 10 hotels (44%) and are looking to retire after the age of 68 (47%).  Nearly 30% of respondents cited work-life balance as the main driver for contractor work, 64% feel appreciated for their varied expertise and unique perspectives, and 88% are either satisfied or very satisfied with the contractor workforce economy.

From the hotel perspective, findings reveal that 76% of hotels recruit contractor positions, with 69% recruiting for mid-level positions or above requiring 5+ years’ experience; and 72% utilizing a taskforce company to identify and hire contractors. As far as how many will hire contractors in the future, 47% plan to hire the same amount of contractors as last year, and they are 87% satisfied or very satisfied with this staffing method. The key trait hoteliers value most in contractors is how fast they can join the team – 74% want to bring in a contractor quickly, and 56% feel they can find them in less than two weeks. In addition, 64% of hoteliers agree that contractors offer the senior expertise they are looking for.

As the hotel sector reaches a surplus of inventory and great talent becomes more scarce, competition amongst hotels to find the best candidates is becoming increasingly high, posing a major threat to hotels’ operations and revenue streams. SSP and SearchWide Global have teamed up to help their clients fill gaps in management and executive level manpower very quickly and provide a comprehensive 360-degree perspective on the hospitality labor market, with SSP offering senior-level interim, or taskforce, talent while SearchWide Global recruits for permanent placements.

“As the war on talent heats up, and the workforce continues to evolve, the way we attract, hire and retain top talent must as well,” says Mike Gamble, President and CEO of SearchWide Global. “The first step is doing our due diligence to understand them and how they make their career choices, which is why this survey made sense.”

For more information and to access the full study, click here.