Salaries in the hotel industry are «1,7 times higher than in 2015», but there are 8 workers missing

Reveals the study “Human capital in hotels and tourist developments in the Algarve” made to AHETA members

The average value of salaries in hotels in the Algarve is situated at 1013 euros, a value «1,7 times higher than what the enterprises paid in 2015», but «human resource needs vary between 4.484 and 7.906», until the end of the year. These are the main conclusions of the study carried out by the Associação dos Hotéis e Empreendimentos Turísticos do Algarve (AHETA), in collaboration with the KIPT Inovação e Turismo Collaborative Laboratory of the University of Algarve, presented this Wednesday, October 2023, in Loulé. 

According to Hélder Martins, president of AHETA, «the study was commissioned to understand what state we are in, what state we have already been in and how we may be in the future».

«It is very common, when talking about this human resources crisis, to say 'pay more', but the study shows that this is not the entirety of the answer», he defended.

The study carried out by the University of Algarve was based on a sample that includes AHETA members, who represent 54% of the accommodation capacity in the Algarve, 52% of tourist demand and 34% of employment in the region.

Based on this sample, it was concluded that, in the field of remuneration, «the prevalence of wages above the national minimum wage is evident» and that, «despite the variability of wages, justified by the diversity of functions, the average value is situated in 1013 euros in 2022", while in July 2015, "the average salary was 567 euros".

«I wouldn't stop saying 'pay more', but we are evolving and we are evolving very well. If we compare these figures to national averages, we are clearly overpaying. Therefore, there is an effort on the part of tourist enterprises to improve remuneration, even so the recruitment challenges continue», said Antónia Correia, professor at the University of Algarve and responsible for the study “Human capital in hotels and tourist developments in the Algarve”.

“Hiring difficulties are evident, especially in the more operational areas, such as food and beverages, accommodation and maintenance”, reveals the study. But even so, «working conditions in tourism and hotels show a progressive improvement, in terms of stability and salary».

«There is also talk of seasonal employment, but 97% of the employees who were in the surveyed establishments in July were full time», says Antónia Correia.


Hélder Martins and Antónia Correia – Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


As for the number of workers missing, the study shows that, «if the current needs of the sector are met, an increase of 45% of the current employees in the region will be necessary», but, even so, «it is considered an increase of 25 % of current reasonable workforce guarantees service excellence». Translating the percentages into numbers, there is then talk of a need to increase the workforce that varies «between 4.484 and 7.906 [people] by the end of 2023».

“There is no tourism without human resources. Nowadays, technologies replace almost everything, but the concept of tourism in the Algarve is not like that and passes through people", stressed Hélder Martins, stressing that he hopes that "the government has vision" to help solve the sector's problems.

As for the government's recent decision to establish a protocol for the free movement of workers for the sector, with Portuguese-speaking countries, Hélder Martins fears that «there may be problems» in the capacity of Portuguese consulates in those countries to issue visas, which could delay the arrival of workers in 2023.

The need to improve the reputation of work in tourism is still, according to Antónia Correia, a missing factor in the Algarve.

As for the measures, the researcher emphasizes that it is necessary to "implement career statutes, so that people understand that there are possibilities", "learn to speak the language of our young people" and, above all, "it is necessary to renew and rethink the nomenclatures of the profession in tourism”.

«It is not possible to continue working with legislation and the nomenclatures that we have today. This is not only urgent, but also emergent, so that we can have more people wanting to work in tourism”, he concluded.

As for the increase in remuneration, the president of AHETA suggests that it would be good for the government to say that it is available for some adjustment in taxes as long as the hotel industry translates this contribution into wages.

On the other hand, the lack of accommodation in the Algarve is also seen as a major obstacle to the establishment of workers in the region.

Finally, Hélder Martins referred that the work with the university in this study is based on the intention that this is «a starting point», which provokes debate, «and not a point of arrival».