Cancun businesses that cater to the needs of tourists like restaurants, and hotels have always made an effort to ensure that their staff members speak English. However, with the pandemic many of the tourism industry workers that originally hailed from other parts of Mexico returned to their hometowns. Doing so in an effort to cut down their living costs. Now as the area recovers financially from the COVID pandemic businesses are having to hire local workers that don’t necessarily speak English to fill the voids left by other workers.
According to recent data released by Cancun hotels there’s about a 36% staff shortage throughout the whole region in the tourism sector. With certain hotels and restaurants having to cope with even higher staff shortage issues. These problems could see a substantial increase with more hotel rooms being built in the city.
20 Thousand Hotel Rooms Are Expected To Be Added To The Cancun Area Over 5 Years
The president of the Hotels Association of Cancun and Puerto Morelos claims there are two main issues that are causing the staffing shortage. One of these problems is the fact that the number of hotels, and therefore hotel rooms have increased in the last few years. Investors seem keen to add even more hotel rooms over the next 5 years. Currently, it’s estimated that 20 thousand hotel rooms are going to be added to the region in the next 5 years. These new rooms would create about 60 thousand more jobs in the region. The president of the hotels’ Association recently explained the formula he used to come up with those numbers saying,
“The growth will depend on the speed at which these investments come into the region, and how much help the sector gets politically. I do think that 20 thousand more rooms could be built in the next 5 years… Depending on the hotel category and the service standards of each facility, 1.5 to 2.5 jobs can be created per new room built.”
Will The Labor Shortage Force Higher Wages?
As things stand it does seem like higher wages are on the horizon for Cancun workers. Particularly, if hotels and restaurants are looking to poach bilingual workers from other parts of the country, in an effort to cater to the growing amount of English speaking tourists arriving to the region. According to a local Cancun worker, businesses in the tourism industry in Cancun are essentially going to have to find and train a new generation of workers. Many of the folks that returned to their hometowns during the pandemic aren’t necessarily going to make their way back to Cancun anytime soon. The worker mentioned,
“Living here (in Cancun) is expensive, particularly when compared to a place like Veracruz. The pandemic has shifted people’s values, and this has led many people to decide to stay in their towns. They make less money, but they cut down on their living expenses. Many of them have started their own businesses, and they live this way.”
Industry insiders have also pointed out that other tourist destinations have lured workers that used to tend to businesses in the Cancun tourism sector with higher wages. The higher wages, and more exciting career path has led workers to take up posts in other countries in the Caribbean.
Mexican workers are even being offered positions in Saudi Arabia, and Qatar for the upcoming World Cup. The wages that local businesses offer are no match for what companies in those countries can put on the table. The result of all this is causing less qualified workers, many of whom don’t speak English, to have to pick up the slack.
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