Perth’s hospitality and events industry is struggling to retain staff as employees opt for more alluring pay packages within the resources sector, the head of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (PCEC) has revealed.
As the mining boom takes off in Western Australia, unemployment has reached record lows as people flock to WA to take advantage of lucrative wages.
But while the boom comes as great news to the state’s economy, PCEC chief executive Dean Lee revealed that the hospitality sector is struggling to retain staff who are lured by the big bucks.
“Staff are job hopping for money with more competition through the resources sector, and we are now facing a high degree of turnover of skilled workers,” he said.
With salaries up to $120,000 for an unskilled position in a mining camp, Lee said it was common for skilled workers to leave the hospitality and events industry in favour of the big bucks.
Others are demanding higher wages and putting more pressure on smaller restaurant operators who have to cover their own costs, Lee added.
“Smaller operators are having to pay well above award wages to attract anyone,” he told The Nibbler. “Others are struggling to retain skilled workers, which ultimately affects the consistency in quality of hospitality services and makes it hard to maintain a high level of labour.”
Like the mining boom of 2006, Lee said the situation was likely to soften when the boom dies down. But it would still be some time until “distorted” expectations of salary fades out, he added.
“Attracting and retaining staff will continue to be a major issue until the resources boom slows down. It’s peaking at the moment, but it’s a cyclical aspect of the resources industry and we will see it soften again,” he concluded.
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