News from Above

Words by Phillip Di Bella

You might have heard about The Great Resignation – a term coined out of the US in response to a growing trend of workers quitting their jobs and reassessing their lifestyle after COVID-19.

Australia’s hospitality industry is not exempt from these issues. We have a talent attraction and retention problem in this country – and it is only going to grow over the next 12 months.

The reasons for this are threefold.

Firstly, our state and international borders have remained closed for the better part of the past two years. We saw the majority of foreign students and hospitality workers go home in March 2020 when our borders first closed – that’s a lot of front-of-house staff, bartenders, cooks, chefs and cleaners. The workforce has diminished, and businesses have reported skilled migrant shortages ever since.

Then we’ve had the majority of state borders (Queensland in particular) being closed off to the rest of the country for most of 2020 and 2021, which has meant less migration of people moving within the industry like there would normally be.

Secondly, there is a supply and demand issue, where the demand is high but supply is low. A higher demand for staff across different industries results in wage inflation. Some industries can handle this, but others cannot. Unlike someone serving alcohol in bars, clubs or gambling, cafes and restaurants that run off already tight margins cannot handle wage inflation.

Finally, what we’re seeing is people wanting a change in lifestyle, whether this means working less or more flexible hours. Unfortunately the nature of the hospitality industry doesn’t allow this – our staff cannot choose to work from home. This creates a shift in lifestyle, where people are rethinking the type of job they want in the future.

The Coffee Commune

While there will always be a place for the best and brightest at their jobs, others will be looking for new trades and occupations.

And certainly a lot of people have left the industry looking for something the Government won’t shut down every few months.

With borders open once again, businesses must be prepared for all avenues, from staffing to education to legislation. This will likely bring forward opportunities for others to help solve this problem, in terms of specialised recruitment focused on the hospitality industry.

But perhaps the solution lies closer to home, where upskilling and educating our staff – not a reliance on foreign workers – is the answer.

Part of what we’re doing at The Coffee Commune is bringing the community together to collaborate and helping people accelerate their potential. One area we are working hard on is attracting more people to the hospitality industry and upskilling them, so that we’re helping to solve the retention and attraction problem as best we can.

It’s the businesses that can solve these problems – whether through worker placement, consultation or simply by pooling resources – that will prosper in the future.

Keep your business profitable, efficient and sustainable with a Cafe Owners membership at The Coffee Commune. As a member, you can discuss and find ways to approach any issues that arise in your business with people who can really help.

Visit for more information.

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