ORLANDO, Fla. - Despite many people traveling again, the hospitality industry is still working to recover its workforce.

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Robertico Croes and his colleagues surveyed nearly 1,000 hospitality workers around the country

  • The hospitality unemployment rate of about 5.5% is higher than the national unemployment rate

  • BELOW: Read the full UCF study

  • More Health headlines

A new UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management study gives a glimpse of why some workers are now looking for opportunities outside the industry.

Dr. Robertico Croes and his colleagues surveyed nearly 1,000 hospitality workers around the country - 40% answered they're considering opportunity outside the industry.

“The current business model of the hospitality industry is no longer sustainable," Dr. Croes said, adding some reasons why employees are leaving during the pandemic. "Reduction in hours, too much workload.  The other aspect is very strongly related to the fear for COVID, and the exposure to the virus.”

One of four unemployed people surveyed are also looking for educational opportunities.

Dr. Croes said it’s time for the industry to come up with solutions.

“Giving more benefits, improve the salary level," are some of the ways the industry can do that, Dr. Croes said.

Beth Wiggins of Windermere has a long history with the Disney company. She's one of the many during the pandemic who have decided to look elsewhere.

“This is Minnie. She was in her bathing suit at Typhoon Lagoon," Wiggins said while showing us a photo of her dressed as Minnie in 1990.

Through the struggles of the pandemic, she's looking ahead to a new business.

“Selling things that could be useful at Disney, without paying an arm and a leg for them," she said.

The idea for Boomer and Junior started with her business partner Danielle in 2020 after being furloughed from Disney.

“There’s a lot of buying on Facebook, and it’s a great way to stay interactive," she said.

Inspired looks hope to attract fashion and park lovers, while hoping to support the company she recently rejoined after over a year of furlough.

“Create magic and give the guest a great experience," Wiggins said.