This year's peak season is coming up early for UAE hotels. And they are well-prepped for the same. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: The busy season has come in nice and early for part-time jobs in the UAE’s hotel industry, with demand for experienced personnel being such that the pay and perks too have risen.

At this time of the year, hotels do hire more part-timers, on contracts that extend to the first couple of weeks of the new year. But this year, the hiring process started early, more so because hotel operators don’t want to be caught short when peak occupancy levels hit. This year’s November and December bookings already show this to be the case as the countdown to the COP28 summit (November 30 to December 12), the F1 Abu Dhabi (November 26) and Dubai Airshow (from November 13-17) start.

“During the high season, we maintain strong occupancy rates ranging from 80 to 90 per cent,” said Intiaj Mondal, Director of Talent and Culture at Rixos Bab Al Bahr Hotel. “These rates are projected to go even higher this November and December.

“To meet this, we adjusted our workforce strategy by outsourcing and hiring part-time staff.” He said the hotel conducts monthly forecasts to align staffing needs with the budget. 

Pay by the hour?
Part-time recruits have opportunities on multiple scales across an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly wage.
“There is a premium on short-term hourly/daily contracts. On average, part-time monthly packages range from about Dh5,000 to Dh10,000, depending on the position,” said Nikhil Nanda of Innovations Group.

At Park Regis Hotel Business Bay, remuneration varies, starting from Dh120 onwards per day, depending on the skillset of the part-timer, said Ghani.

At Rixos Bab Al Bahr, part-time employees work for the hotel on an hourly basis. “We also encourage internships from international and local universities," said Intiaj Mondal. "We typically have 10-15 operational interns at any given time, including Emiratis, to introduce fresh talent into the hotel industry.”
Stock - Hotel / Dubai hotel / Tourism / UAE hotel
Recruiters and hoteliers have said part-time recruitment activity this year is higher than last year. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/ Gulf News

High occupancy equals more part-timers

Hotels like Park Regis Hotels Business Bay recruit part-time workers if the occupancy levels soar above 85 per cent. Kamran Ghani, Partner at Park Regis Hotel Business Bay, said: “The market forecast looks promising in Q4-23, especially around COP28, with the ADR (average daily rate) growth of approximately 2.5 per cent and occupancy remaining stable.”

We do recruit for room attendants, waiters, stewards, and maintenance people on part-time basis during peak seasons. Remuneration varies, starting from Dh120 onwards per day, depending on the skill set of the part-timer.

- Kamran Ghani

Part-time job roles and what they can fetch:

  1. F&B roles: Dh8,000-Dh10,000
  2. Guest services executive: Dh8,600
  3. Bell attendant: Dh4,000
  4. Kids' club attendant: Dh7,400
  5. Laundry attendant: Dh3,200

Higher intake than in past years

Recruiters and hoteliers have said part-time recruitment activity this year is higher than last year.

Nikhil Nanda, Director of Dubai-based Innovations Group, an employee outsourcing and recruitment services firm, said, “Seasonal and part-time hiring has increased this year due to events such as COP28. As a result, the part-time hiring season has also started much earlier than usual.”

It has been a common theme across hotels in UAE to recruit part-time workers for many years now. Furthermore, the demand continuously increases year on year due to UAE’s constantly growing popularity across the world.

- Nikhil Nanda

Hotels have intensified their hiring efforts for short-term contract workers to cater to both leisure and business travellers. Savio D’souza, Director of Talent and Culture at Grand Plaza Movenpick Media City said, “We usually hire casual staff during high seasons, which is Q4 and Q1. This year, we are discussing the possibility of bringing in part-time employees, particularly for back-of-house roles, to optimize operations further.”

Part-time vs. full-time

Even though overall recruitment activity has increased this past year across various positions and departments, Nanda said hotels haven’t bolstered recruitment activity for full-time workers ahead of the busy season.

“Hotels are well aware of the dip during the low season where they do not want to deal with hiring-and-firing activities year on year,” said Nanda.

We anticipate a surge in occupancy levels during the 4th quarter, particularly around COP28 and the festive season, in response to the significantly increased demand. We expect high occupancies and a substantial growth compared to the previous year.

- Savio D'souza

“They would rather pay a slight premium over the winter season by taking on part-time staff instead of increasing their fixed overheads.”

Mondal also said that manning remains consistent during the summer months.

Roles where part-timers are needed

Hotels require additional assistance in housekeeping, stewarding, F&B, guest services, receptionists, public attendants, lifeguards, etc. “Most part-time recruitment happens in the F&B services and back-of-house roles,” said Mondal. “This is commonplace before the festive season (Christmas and New Year) or Spring.

The total permanent headcount at Rixos Bab Al Bahr stands at over 500 employees, with 140 of them actively engaged in the F&B sector. Looking ahead to 2024, we plan to increase our staff to 750, with a mix of part-time workers and permanent contracts.

- Intiaj Mondal

“We also recruit a certain amount of staff in the housekeeping and security divisions. We focus on casual staffing in areas such as housekeeping and F&B, requesting staff on a regular, often weekly, basis to maintain cost-effectiveness.”