Local hospitality venues may be feeling relieved to have emerged from lockdown, but many are still finding it difficult to fill job openings.
With hospitality roles often considered irregular work at unusual hours at the best of times, the added impact of lockdown, which has shut venues for significant swathes of the past two years, as added to the difficulties of filling roles.
Mayfield Garden's Chris Muldoon said its been difficult to fill front-of-house and chef positions.
"We ran a half-page add in this very newspaper and the Oberon Review and didn't get one response," Mr Muldoon said.
"At the moment, we'd love to hire two additional cooks to help out in the kitchen, two baristas and around 10 people to operate front-of-house."
Mr Muldoon feels the sheer number of vacancies in the hospitality industry is directly related to border closures, which has been a constant on-and-off hurdle for Australia during COVID-19.
"A lot of front-of-house hospitality work across NSW is snapped up by backpackers, and back-of-house staff are often students in the area for study; in both cases, border closures have had an impact," he said.
"Border closures obviously hit the metropolitan markets harder, but there's a flow-on effect in country areas as well."
Mr Muldoon said the marketing of job vacancies is also a key factor, declaring "the days of placing vacancy advertisements in newspapers are long gone."
"We've got to be more proactive in how we attract potential staff, as it's really all about staying on top of networking and targeted promotion," he said.
"A hospitality-centric association in Bathurst could certainly help in this regard, as it would allow venue operators to pool their resources and connections together to achieve shared outcomes."
Bathurst RSL Club general manager Peter Sargent said their venue lost some staff during the lockdown period to other industries, and while stressing the RSL is travelling okay, admits a combination of job security concerns and a tentative resumption to trade post-lockdown have had an affect.
"Most young people these days are looking for secure work, and considering many hospitality businesses have lost around 20 weeks of trade in the last two years due to lockdowns, I can see why they may overlook these roles," he said.
"While clubs are certainly better off than pubs, customer-based roles can prove quite a challenge for many people, especially in this climate."
"We might be out of lockdown, but 'freedom day' won't be until NSW is 90 per cent fully vaccinated."
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