Iltalehti reports that restaurants in Finland are facing an acute shortage of labour now that restrictions on opening hours and capacity have been relaxed. While the industry has had to deal with recruitment challenges in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation significantly worse.
Sirpa Leppäkangas, an expert on employment contracts with PAM (a trade union for people working in private service sectors) told Iltalehti that the development does not come as a surprise.
According to Leppäkangas, a large number of employees in the restaurant sector have been laid off since the pandemic began, and find it difficult to return to their former jobs on short notice.
While this is a nationwide issue, the problem is especially pronounced in those parts of Finland which were already struggling with a labour shortage before the COVID-19 crisis hit.
Several restaurant professionals have been compelled to permanently shift to other sectors. For instance, Finnish retailing cooperative S Group allowed people employed at its restaurants to work in grocery stores instead to prevent lay-offs.
Additionally, factors such as low wages make the sector unattractive to potential as well as current employees. According to PAM, the average salary of a full-time employee in the restaurant industry was just 2,021 euros per month last year.