Hospitality Industry In Need Of Workers In OKC Metro


Wednesday, June 9th 2021, 6:47 pm
By: Hunter McKee


OKLAHOMA CITY -

As life continues to get back to normal, metro restaurants and hotels are seeing an influx in people. However, the service industry, as a whole, is in need of workers.

One of the most impacted industries during the pandemic saw thousands of businesses close and people left jobless. But now, as COVID restrictions lower, foot traffic has increased.

"We're having weddings and group events and lots of families and travelers coming," said Skip Harless, General Manager of the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.

According to the OKC Convention and Visitors Bureau, in the month of April, metro hotel occupancy is at 54%, and that's a 30% increase year over year, which means hiring is critical. Harless said their staff is a little over half of what it was before the pandemic.

"We're doing everything from social media to Facebook posts, to word of mouth," Harless said.

Local restaurants are also seeing the same issues. Some, even having to close their doors due to the lack of staffing.

"It's been a challenging environment," said Zac Craig, with the OKC Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We've got a lot of people in a restaurant segment that are working double shifts, in multiple jobs."

"That puts some pressure on us to hire staff and have a quality staff," said Charles Stout, area restaurant manager.

According to city officials, hospitality as a whole in OKC represented over 22,000 jobs and they said they're far below those numbers right now.

"We're anxious not only to get to those levels, but to quickly exceed those levels for our residents here in Oklahoma City," said Craig.

Several different organizations within the city are holding a job fair June 18.