OpEd: Bermudian Employment In Tourism

By Jason Hayward, MP

Tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors globally. In Bermuda, the total direct, indirect and induced economic impact of the tourism sector has increased by 34% from $583 million in 2014 to $886 million in 2018 according to the Tourism Satellite Account. The total economic impact of Tourism represents approximately 12% of all economic activity in Bermuda.  

Bermuda has benefited greatly from tourism. The tourism industry generates significant foreign exchange and Government revenue, it is an import contributor to Bermuda’s economic diversification and it generates inward investment through hotel developments and acquisitions.

However, tourism’s most important contribution to the Bermudian economy is the sector’s ability to produce jobs. Tourism is a labor-intensive service sector and accounts for 3,204 direct jobs and thousands of indirect and induced jobs within the economy.

The tourism sector creates jobs for Bermudians of all ages and skill levels in a vast number of job categories. The tourism sector also provides tremendous opportunities for Bermudian job growth. The Bermuda Hospitality Needs Assessment survey conducted by PWC projects that by 2021 the gap between Bermuda’s future talent supply and demand for hospitality workers will range between 555 and 814 positions. It should be noted that approximately 30% of total hotel jobs are filled by guest workers.

In light of the opportunity that is projected, human resource development in tourism will be given priority attention by the Government. We aim to ensure Bermudians entering the tourism sector have the opportunity to develop a rewarding career.

Since the release of the PWC report, the Department of Workforce Development has targeted Bermudians for tourism employment, skill set development, and training opportunities. In December, The Department of Workforce Development partnered with Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club to host a career fair. A total of one hundred twenty-six persons attended the career fair. Applicants were afforded interviews in a variety of occupation areas including Laundry, Housekeeping, Food & Beverage, Security, Front Office, Spa, and the Kids Camp.

The Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club had the following to say about the Department’s participation: “A HUGE THANK YOU! To you and your team for partnering with us to make this day a success. We appreciate the Department of Workforce & Development efforts in pre-screening applicants, and your collaboration allowed us to expedite our hiring process and kick start our 2020 Recruitment. Thank you once again!”

In November, The Learn to Earn Restaurant Training Initiative and campaign was launched. The public-private training and development program aims to attract Bermudian jobseekers to restaurant careers. The private-public partnership includes various industry stakeholders and has seen roughly 345 persons enlist their interest in hospitality careers and training. The Learn to Earn initiative will create a pipeline of Bermudian talent in the restaurant industry.

The Government will continue to keep Bermuda on the right track, take a collaborative approach to create more opportunity for Bermudian job seekers and engage employers to address Bermuda’s workforce needs in the tourism sector. In addition, the Government will progress the work on a living wage to ensure that the sector contains quality jobs with decent pay.