How WA Hospitality Companies are Getting Creative to Attract and Retain Staff Amid War for Talent

How WA hospitality companies are getting creative to attract and retain staff amid war for talent.

WA’s hospitality businesses are thinking outside of the box and finding creative ways to attract staff as they continue to grapple with the ongoing skills squeeze.

In a bid to lure talent, family pub The Parkerville Tavern has introduced an earned wage access scheme that allows workers to be paid straight after shifts, rather than waiting for the business’ fortnightly pay cycle.

Front of house manager Janae Sorgiovanni told The West Australian that the pub had struggled to find staff to fill a range of roles since COVID entered the State.

“We do find a number of our workers through people coming in from overseas. Without having that, it has really caused issues all over hospitality. Even to find young staff and trained chefs is difficult,” she said.

The business is using Australian platform Paytime to enable staff to access a portion of their wages at any time during the month, with Ms Sorgiovanni pointing out that it had encouraged workers to cover more shifts.

Ms Sorgiovanni said the initiative — which The Parkerville kicked off in September — came at an ideal time given the soaring cost of living, and would give the business a competitive edge against other hospitality venues.

“Food bills are going up and expenses are a little bit harder to pay for. If your car breaks down, you might not have the savings you normally would,” she said.

“With this, people could get access to a couple of hundred dollars to pay for a tyre.”

Companies including McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Hard Rock Cafe are already offering earned wage access in the US.

Paytime chief executive Steven Furman said earned wage access could be extended to other industries where shift-based work was common, such as retail and mining.

Mr Furman said the Sydney-based company — founded in 2018 — had seen its clients’ levels of worker absenteeism drop significantly.

“We’re also seeing clock-in and clock-out workers putting in 20-25 per cent more hours,” he said.

He said it was mostly workers with young families choosing to access a portion of their pay early.

Research by Paytime found that 81 per cent of Australians would like to access their earned pay before payday.

Ms Sorgiovanni noted that the coronavirus pandemic had led to negative perceptions surrounding working in the hospitality industry, which deterred job seekers from applying for roles in the sector.

“I guess with the unknown of COVID, people don’t want the forward facing roles because they don’t want the contact with the public. There’s still a fear of being exposed unnecessarily,” she said.

The venue has consistently had two or more Seek advertisements running to recruit talent, Ms Sorgiovanni said.

There was a 41 per cent increase in the number of hospitality jobs advertised on the employment marketplace from August to September, according to Seek data.

Click here to find out more about Earned Wage Access as an employee, or click here for an information page to send to your employer.