Senator Kim Wilson, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry met with the Bermuda Hotel Association Executive (BHA) this week to discuss workforce issues relating to the hospitality industry.
Work permits were discussed and the Minister later reviewed the statistics which indicated that of a total of 1,677 work permits granted to employees in hospitality industries, hotels and restaurants; 613 had been granted extensions, 343 were granted waivers and 721 were subject to term limits, meaning that approximately 57% of work permits were either extended or waived.
The Minister stated that work permits are being granted at “all levels of the economy from CEOs to pot washers.”
At the meeting the discussion was dominated by service attitudes and the shortage of trades and housekeeping employees.
Minister Wilson said that satisfied guests return home and encourage others to come to the island while unhappy guests can discourage others from visiting the island. “In the age of the internet and social media when anyone can post positive or negative reviews of Bermuda for all the world to read it is important that our service workers – the frontline ambassadors for Bermuda – are held to the highest standards when catering to our guests. The competition in the hospitality sector is fierce and we must make sure we provide first class service on all fronts.”
Minister Wilson said: “Service performance and attitudes is a huge issue in Bermuda generally and we’ve agreed to explore instituting a programme through the Department of Labour and Training to address this critical area that is so important to the experience of our visitors and residents.”
Concerning the shortage of trades and housekeeping employees, Minister Wilson committed to meeting with the Financial Assistance Department to review their data and determine how many unemployed persons receiving benefits from Government could be filling these posts.
Minister Wilson said: “This review of unemployed persons who could be suitable for positions within the hospitality industry is part of a larger effort to ensure that Bermudians at all skill levels are gainfully employed. With work permits being granted at all levels of the economy, from CEOs to pot washers, there is no reason that employable Bermudians should not be vying for these jobs. I am particularly anxious to learn exactly how many persons receiving benefits could be gainfully employed in this sector at various levels.”
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