Wedding industry revs up but new hires hard to come by

Oregon

Companies specializing in events like weddings are finally seeing business pick up but filling open positions is a challenge

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The wedding industry is finally getting back on track as the pandemic slackens but finding employees to fill open positions is proving to be a challenge.

Opal 28 is a full-service intimate event space in Northeast Portland that hosts everything from birthday parties to corporate events to weddings. During the pandemic, Opal 28 had to cancel events and layoff staff but now it’s finally seeing a boom in business as people start to reschedule their postponed weddings and book new ones.

In some cases, Opal 28 is scheduling two events a day and weddings on weekdays since many weekends have already been booked.

But owner Margot Pearmine said finding enough people to staff all of the events has been a challenge.

“Two years ago, I probably would’ve received 30 resumes in the span of two or three days and maybe I’ve received 10 in the span of two or three days this time around,” she said.

Pearmine also said some of her past employees decided to leave the hospitality industry in pursuit of other careers — a trend reflected across Oregon. Data from the Oregon Employment Department shows about 12,000 workers left the food service and accommodation industry for other jobs by the end of 2020.

Experts say lack of available childcare, unemployment benefits and concerns about getting COVID-19 are also contributing to employers’ difficulty in finding new hires.

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