DALLAS The People Report Workforce Index, a quarterly barometer of market pressures on foodservice employment, registered an overall reading of 63.1 for the third quarter of 2008, posting its first increase in a year. Of particular interest in this quarter’s findings: the overall index value rose for all industry segments except casual dining, with the most significant movement coming in the quick-service and fast casual/family dining segments.
Finding qualified managers remained a challenge for quick-service restaurant operators. While other sectors showed a decline in management hiring, QSR companies saw their rate of hiring increase, including for shift leaders. At the hourly level, 50 percent of QSR companies reported increased hiring. No quick-service company in the People Report consortium reported a decrease in the number of crew members.
The quick-service sector often faces labor market changes before they’re felt by other foodservice segments. As a result, QSRs have been quicker to widen their hiring pools, and have been particularly successful adding more women and minorities to their management ranks. Women also seem to be moving up the ladder at increased rates –for the second time in six quarters, QSR companies promoted a higher percentage of female managers.
While a consumer trade-down may be helping sales at QSRs, that dynamic may be putting more pressure on companies to add staff for the increased demand. Nearly six out of 10 quick-service and fast casual/family dining companies reported increasing staffing difficulty at the hourly level.
Vacancies were especially problematic at the management level, for the fast casual/family dining segment as well as the QSR market. Nearly 60 percent of those sectors reported an increase in management-level vacancies, and none reported a drop.
Even the rising unemployment rate has not allowed employers to keep up with the need for qualified employees.