‘We need staff’: Halifax hotel owners attend job fair to overcome staff shortage

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Halifax hotel owners recovering from pandemic shortage hold job fair
With the hospitality sector taking a massive hit during the pandemic, the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia organized a hospitality job fair as an opportunity to hire staff as businesses prepare for the summer months. Amber Fryday reports – Apr 30, 2022

While the hospitality sector in Nova Scotia took a massive hit during the pandemic, many employees shifted away from the service industry.

To help local businesses, the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia has organized a hospitality job fair as an opportunity to hire staff while they prepare for the summer months.

Mark Schaay, general manager Sutton Place Hotel, has seen the challenges of operating a hospitality business first-hand.

“The last couple years, in a lot of ways, haven’t been very fun,” Schaay said.

“You had low occupancy and people not being able to travel, and restrictions in the city, and literally empty hotels. So you had to adjust and staff accordingly. It’s been really hard,” he said.

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Smaller businesses have struggled too.

The Chebucto Inn has been operating for 33 years as a family-run motel and restaurant. The daughter of its owners, Natasha Compton, says it’s been difficult.

“Hospitality is all about the human touch, right? So, COVID has been hard,” Compton said at the fair.

With tourist season in sight, the Inn needs to prepare to welcome an influx of visitors, she said.

“We’re still standing, and so we just need to hire a team of people that can help us provide that human touch for our guests this summer,” she said.

“We’re excited to have more tourists coming but we need the right team to really help us grow and provide the right service that we’re looking for.”

Her parents Jimmy and Georgia Georgantas run and operate the Inn. Since the pandemic began, their children and grandchildren have all been putting in extra hours.

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The family found out about the job fair a the last minute and hopped on the opportunity to network and search for potential staff.

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“It has been amazing, a lot of people, a lot of interviews,” said Georgia Georgantas at the fair, adding the workload has been too much for her family.

“Hopefully they all come through, cause we need help. We need staff in order to survive.”

Natasha Compton is hopeful her family can recruit enough staff to operate efficiently for the summer.

“We’ve offered a few jobs already,” she said early Saturday afternoon.

Compton believes the hiring fair is instrumental in helping operators get back on their feet, especially small and family-run businesses.

“We’re so happy the city helped put this together for us because it really means a lot.”

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