Do remote venues have the edge in the midst of Australia's housing crisis?
8 August 2022
International border closures, soaring interest rates, climbing rental prices and lack of affordable housing means that hospitality employers who are offering accommodation now have a real edge over their competitors.
It's not unusual for remote or FIFO hospitality venues to offer employee accommodation. Venue operators use it as a tool to attract and retain employees. You Solved is working with several operators at the moment who either offer fully or partially subsidised accommodation. These venue’s all have a common denominator; they are in remote or regional locations. Some of them are so remote that they are several hours drive from the nearest big town or city.
Historically gigs like this have been harder to recruit for as it means finding a candidate who is keen for adventure, but also understands the nuances of working and living within the same community of people. It can be an adventure, but sometimes intimate and isolating.
International border closures, soaring interest rates, climbing rental prices and lack of affordable housing means that hospitality employers who are offering accommodation now have a real edge over their competitors. We are seeing a trend where candidates are weighing up the benefits of access to accommodation against a location they may not have previously considered. Pre-pandemic, many venues which were once the bastion of working holiday visa holders- are now being specifically requested by overseas candidates. Candidates are aware of the housing crisis we are experiencing here in Australia. Why? Because they do their research, and a good recruiter will highlight any major economic influence facing an international relocation.
In Tamworth, about five and a half hours north of Sydney, rental vacancies have dropped to a fifth of normal levels. It’s typically around 3.5%, the latest availability is 0.7%.1
The effects of pandemic and lack of working holiday visa holders will be felt for years to come as the hospitality industry continues to fill the skills canyon widened by covid. (I’m referring to the pandemic hospitality skills gap as the Covid Canyon now). However, could it be some venue’s who have traditionally had to work harder to be considered by candidates, see the silver lining of a housing-crisis shaped cloud? Could remote and regional venues have a real edge in an employee’s market?
Over the last couple of years there’s been more widespread industry discussion around offering employee accommodation as part of a package to attract the best available candidates. Anecdotally hospitality employers are working to be competitive employers of choice and top of mind for candidates. Sign-on and retention bonuses, gym memberships and four day working weeks are becoming more common, but Australia’s housing crisis is impacting employers as well. If employees can’t access affordable housing then it’s a possibility employers can’t either. This leaves the venue’s that have maintained employee housing long-term with a competitive advantage.
If you don’t already, maybe it’s time to think creatively about how your hospitality venue could achieve this competitive advantage. Is employee accommodation a golden carrot?
1 The Guardian 8 July 2022
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