2024 HoReCa labor market trends in Russia

Hospitality and catering is a dynamic and competitive industry. Officially, there are 21,800 hotels in Russia, the number growing annually by 0.5%. Experts estimate that in 2023, the Russian HoReCa market was worth around 785 billion rubles, or 10% higher than in 2022. Moreover, as domestic tourism keeps developing intensively, the market is expected to reach 1 trillion rubles by 2027. Invest Foresight spoke to Maria Bakevich, HR Director at LES Art Resort, about the current trends in the HoReCa labor market.  

Shortage of workforce remains the main trend – and challenge – for the labor market in 2024. The demand for human resources in HoReCa has sharply increased in the past years, with its growth rate reaching 45% by 2023 – a growth that has been predicted to continue through 2024. Employers are looking for ways to satisfy the growing demand, including by hiring young professionals. Increasingly more companies choose to cooperate with universities and vocational schools. This approach helps to discover and build workforce potential in the early years of study even despite the fact that employee training and adaptation may require several times more money.

To compensate for workforce deficit, companies are starting to automate operations and turning to robots. This trend keeps picking up speed every year as the industry is actively implementing self-service systems, developing mobile apps for online orders and payments, and using interactive technology to improve customer experience. All these efforts have boosted effectiveness, reduced service times and provided customers with most personalized service. Moreover, robots are finding application in hospitality and catering businesses increasingly more often – for example, as waiting staff or baristas. However, no technology can still fully replace an important human factor, which is face-to-face interaction with guests.

While technologies penetrate all sectors, the demand for workers with specialized training even in line positions remains high, and employers are willing to motivate trained staff generously. There is a trend for raising wages, especially for qualified professionals and managers, as well as expanding bonus and benefit packages. The perks may include healthcare insurance, meal allowance, discounts on company products, bonuses for achieving key indicators, and free training.

One specific trend is certainly the expansion of in-house employees and contractors. As competition is high, organizations focus more on social media presence, collaboration with opinion leaders and other marketing activities. The hospitality and catering industry needs both hands and brains, to attract new customers and to build brand awareness. There has been a higher demand for both in-house and external marketing specialists, brand managers and social media managers who can create a brand’s continuous and consistent presence in the media.

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