Ski staff in Aspen have been given a mid-season pay rise as part of a £12 million investment.
The Aspen Skiing Co has announced all hourly and salaried employees will get a $3 per hour pay rise.
The pay hikes signify an investment of about $12 million a year, according to Skico’s accounting.
The rise follows Skico’s decision in November to increase starting pay for new staff as well as the hourly rate for a second, third, and fourth-year employees.
Skico also decided in the pre-season it would enhance the entry pay of salaried workers to $50,000.
The decision means a $15 million investment in personnel.
Skico President and chief executive officer Mike Kaplan said: “This is an investment in our employees, our community and our future as a business. I have heard from many of our employees about how tough this year has been. The goal here is to say thank you, to offer encouragement for the future and honor their commitment to their work.”
Staff was told the good news on Thursday, February 10.
According to Mr. Kaplan, the Chicago-based Lester Crown family, who owns Skico in its entirety, expressed “unwavering support” for the move.
Skico’s recent decision will raise beginning compensation for most hourly employees to $20 per hour.
Ski Workers in jobs who rely largely on tips would earn a $3 per hour boost, but their starting salary will be lower.
The rise represents a $6,240 annual raise for salaried workers.
Skico usually waits until the first pay period of July to provide pay raises.
This salary increase takes the place of a typical raise.
The skiing season is about half way through and Skico’s vice-president of communications Jeff Hanle said the move had not been made to attract more staff.
However, he added if more people did come forward it would be “great.”
The pay raise comes barely after the season’s halfway mark. It wasn’t necessarily intended to attract applicants this season.
According to Skico vice president of communications Jeff Hanle, but Skico will gladly accept if that is the outcome.
“If we picked up a few people to get us through the season, that’s great,” Hanle said.
Why the ski industry has had big recruitment problems
The ski industry has had big problems with finding workers this season.
A combination of poor pay and a lack of affordable housing for workers has caused a massive shortage of staff.
Some companies like Vail Resorts have given workers who stay in their positions a $2 an hour pay bonus for all hours worked after January 1.
Skico also realized increasing salaries is not enough and has acknowledged staff are not paid enough to keep up with rising open market rents.
As a result, the company has paid $18.4 million dollars for development in nearby Willits town centre for new development for its staff.
The 150 room building is called The Hub and Skico owns
Skico’s chief human resources officer, Jim Laing, has stated on several occasions that Aspen-area firms cannot afford to pay their employees enough to keep up with rising rents on the open market.
More affordable homes must also be built as part of the solution. Skico paid $18.4 million in Willits Town Center on a new employee housing development
The Hub, as the structure is known, has 150 rooms and Skico owns or leases roughly 1,000 bedrooms in total.
During peak season, Skico employs up to 4,500 people.