Executives join the frontline at Qantas and Wyndham as staffing crisis bites

Barry Robinson and Bruce Harkness swapped their suits for aprons at Wyndham Surfers Paradise's café The Promenade.

The skills shortage is biting deep across all sectors with Qantas asking 100 of its senior executives to come out from behind their desks and help out the baggage handlers at Sydney and Melbourne airports.

“We’ve been clear that our operational performance has not been meeting our customers’ expectations or the standards that we expect of ourselves,” a Qantas spokesperson said in a report by The Australian.

“While we manage the impacts of a record flu season and ongoing COVID-19 cases coupled with the tightest labour market in decades, we’re continuing that contingency planning across our airport operations for the next three months.”

Aviation isn’t the only sector asking senior staff to roll up their sleeves, with senior leaders at Wyndham Destinations swapping their suits for aprons to help out the hotel team at Wyndham Surfers Paradise this week during a staff shortage.

“Following a quiet two years for the hospitality industry due to lockdowns and other Covid-19 travel restrictions, we have unfortunately seen many professionals walk away to try something new,” said Barry Robinson, president and managing director of international operations for Wyndham Destinations.

“The staff shortage is being compounded by people wanting to travel after years of staying put.

“I am proud to have been part of the industry for more than 30 years, so serving has almost become an instinct. When I heard about the situation over here, I rushed to fill the gap.”

Robinson was joined at Wyndham Surfers Paradise’s café The Promenade by Bruce Harkness, senior vice president of human resources, brand communications and customer experience, and the hotel’s general manager, Maria Salazar.

With occupancies reaching between 80 to 90 per cent for the rest of the year, demand for travel and hotel accommodation is not likely to diminish anytime soon.

Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific is currently recruiting for approximately 120 roles across its Australian operations and is currently recruiting for more than 30 roles in Queensland alone, with most of those on the Gold Coast.