Hospitality industry leaders say entry-level jobs have been tough to fill

Entry-level jobs in the hospitality industry, including at restaurants and hotels, have been increasingly tough to fill across the Portland metro region.

Karla Maldonado manages Maya's Taqueria in downtown Portland. She said they're struggling with covering all shifts, and some employees only have a day off at a time.

"It's very rare that someone comes in and asks for a job or if they do, I give them an application and they don't bring it back," she said.

Jason Brandt with the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association says to combat the problem, they'll offer more job-training. It's a way to get staff on board while giving them the tools to work their way up.

"Oregon's brand probably has never been stronger so we have incredible domestic and international demand for the product that we offer here in Oregon," he said. "That's a great problem to have but it requires a certain level of workforce to sustain the experiences that our visitors want."

ORLA Executive Director Wendy Popkin said if hospitality companies keep having a tough time hiring people, they may look for other solutions.

"So there will be more and more robotic kinds of solutions, more and more automatic kind of solutions. To me, that's not what a lot of people are looking for in hospitality," she said.

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