Rackspace Technology Survey: Hospitality/Travel Companies Struggle to Hire/Retain IT Staff

Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor, Hotels
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Economic challenges have contributed to a newfound appreciation by travel/hospitality companies for the role of technology, according to a new survey of 1,420 global IT professionals sponsored by Rackspace Technology (NASDAQ:RXT), an end-to-end multicloud technology services provider.  These challenges include:   

  • Inflation (47%) 
  • Economic slowdown (44%) 
  • Energy (37%) 
  • Hybrid/remote staff productivity (35%) 
  • Hiring talent (32%) 
  • Supply chain (32%) 

The challenges of geopolitics (23%) and the Russia/Ukraine war (21%) paled by comparison.   

Over half (57%) of travel/hospitality IT executives said their organization is downsizing employees, starting with HR (62%), sales and marketing (41%), business operations (40%), IT operations (29%), accounting/finance (26%), innovation (25%), security (23%) and R&D (19%).  In fact, 76% said they are trying to find ways to enable technology to do jobs performed by people in IT operations (26%), customer service (21%), sales and marketing (19%), business operations (18%) and HR (15%). 

Travel/Hospitality Struggling to Hire/Retain Technology Employees 

The hospitality/travel IT decision-makers polled are not only struggling to hire new technology employees, they are also struggling to retain current tech staffers.  This urgent need was caused by an employee-oriented job market (54%), competitor incentives (52%), macro-economics (54%), forced return to an office (42%) and cutbacks on promotions and pay raises (38%). 

  • 56% said they are currently struggling to fill vacancies in technology jobs in cybersecurity (69%), machine learning (61%), data analytics (45%), data engineer (38%), network engineering (37%) and cloud architect (31%).  
  • 53% said they are struggling to retain IT staff in specific areas like data analysts (52%), cybersecurity (66%), cloud computing (52%), systems and networks (28%).  

Efforts to retain IT staff include offering additional training opportunities (64%), an increase in the value of rewards (58%), salary increases (54%), work/life balance improvements (48%), career growth (42%) and increases in benefits (35%).  In addition to efforts to retain IT staffers, 50% are looking to implement the technical skills of all hospitality/travel employees, including non-technical positions.    

  • Nearly half (49%) say there has been an increase in the ratio of tech to non-tech manufacturer staff since 2020  
  • Further, 50% say tech proficiency/knowledge is mandatory for all manufacturer employees 

IT Investment/Respect Grows 

The reported 50% increase in IT investment this year among hospitality/travel companies will be followed by further investment in IT strategies over the next 12-18 months in the cloud (73%), security (57%) and digital transformation (54%) thanks to recent acknowledgement of technology’s benefits of technology across travel/hospitality organizations by CEOs and the board of directors. 

  • IT directors (58%), head of IT (33%) are closer to the IT investment strategy decision process than they were 1-2 years ago.  This is a change, according to 65% of respondents.  
  • This shift was influenced by an increased confidence in the ROI from technology across the business (63%) and the increased involvement of the board of directors and senior leadership’s involvement in investment decisions.  
  • Travel/hospitality CEOs (42%) are driving these investment decisions as opposed to the CIO (31%). 

Challenges Encourage Cloud Use  

Current economic challenges have resulted in more cloud-based travel/hospitality strategies including the below: 

  • A focus on public cloud (71%) and private cloud (29%) to gain greater efficiency 
  • Cloud as a short-term strategy (47%), as a long-term strategy (53%) 

Survey Methodology 

The survey was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research in September 2022. Findings are based on the responses of 1,420 IT decision-makers across sectors in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  

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