THERE are over 3,000 unfilled jobs in the hotel sector at present as employers face an increasing struggle to find trained staff.
The new president of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) Stephen McNally warned there are staff shortages in all areas of hotel work, including chefs, bar staff, supervisory roles and housekeeping.
The problem is more acute in Dublin and is the worst it's been since the recession began, he said. "It is a big issue for many hotels trying to find trained staff," he said.
The hotel sector already employs 54,000 people country-wide and has huge potential to grow along with tourist numbers, he said.
Some of this problem would be resolved as students became available when college finished, Mr McNally said.
However, the IHF is also calling for state training body SOLAS to set up a dedicated hospitality training unit with a new model for apprenticeships.
Two-thirds of hoteliers said in a survey that they planned to take on additional staff over the next 12 months.
Mr McNally is deputy chief executive of the Dalata Hotel Group, which operates 35 hotels in 15 counties including 15 Maldron hotels. He told the IHF AGM in Trim, Co Meath, yesterday that an extra 74,000 tourism jobs could be created by 2020 if Ireland could attract 10 million overseas visitors a year.
Growth of 6pc a year would be needed to achieve this target and build on the seven million tourists who visited last year.