For many young professionals, the idea of starting a career in hospitality may seem daunting. The life of a hotelier is often associated with being stressful, challenging and demanding – calling for flexibility in the face of unusual working hours and a persistent go-getter attitude. After all, hoteliers are always at the beck and call of their customers, right?
Well, despite the seeming challenges, a future in hospitality may just be one of the most rewarding and promising career choices for young graduates. Here’s why:
The hospitality industry is booming
Over the past 2 decades, the hospitality industry has experienced significant growth, with international arrivals doubling from 600 million to over 1.4 billion in 2016.
In 2018, the travel and tourism industry saw a growth of 3.9%, outpacing that of the global economy (3.2%). In that same year, the hospitality and travel industry accounted for one out of every ten employment opportunities – bringing the number of hospitality professionals to a remarkable 319 million.
And it’s showing no signs of slowing.
By 2030, international arrivals are expected to reach staggering 1.8 billion, and The World Tourism Council predicts that by 2029, the direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to GDP is expected to grow by 3.6%, accounting for over 420 million jobs.
So you see – even in the face of turmoil and a major global recession, the hospitality and tourism industry has consistently prevailed. Of course, that’s not to say that it’s unshakeable, but its track record has shown that it’s a pretty safe bet if you’re looking for long-term stability.
Hoteliers are happier
A 2017 study found that only 50% of employees are happy with how they spend their days, and that the trend is on a slippery downward slope.
Why is that, you might wonder?
Well, according to the latest research, job satisfaction isn’t actually linked to how much money you earn or whether you’re following your passion. What really makes for a happy employee is a job that’s rewarding on a deeper, more intrinsic level. More specifically, jobs that are collaborative, benefit other people, rewarding and flexible have been found to spark the greatest joy – so it’s no surprise that hospitality employees are happier overall.
So what is it that makes a career in hospitality so exciting?
1. It’s social, friendly and culturally-enriching
The hospitality industry is runs on people. It’s a people business, after all. It’s an incredibly lively, friendly and vibrant industry that’s all about generating happiness – because happy staff makes for happy customers – and a happy business.
It’s also a melting pot of diverse cultures, which means you’ll meet lots of different people, from all walks of the earth.
Anyone in hospitality also knows that it’s very-well connected. You’ll cross friends and colleagues wherever you go. So while embarking on a new adventure on the other side of the planet might seem intimidating, rest assured that you’ll always find a friendly face wherever you go.
2. It’s fast-paced and dynamic
Hoteliers never get bored. The hospitality industry is incredibly diverse and exciting, with opportunities that answer to every passion. So whether you want to be a concierge, pastry chef, General Manager of a boutique hotel or a wedding planner – the possibilities truly are endless!
But if you’re looking for a predictable career with 9-5 hours, then hospitality may not be right for you. Hospitality jobs call for a lot of flexibility, and may have you starting at 5am or working on your favourite holiday. But that’s just what we love about it; it breaks the monotonous mold and makes every day feel unique.
3. It comes with great perks
Working in the hospitality industry often comes with exclusive access to perks – like sampling exquisite meals, VIP tickets to sold-out concerts or a suite at one of the latest luxury hotels.
Even those in entry-level jobs are known to get rewarded with generous bonuses and tips…and it only gets better as you move up the ladder!
4. It cultivates your soft skills
Working in hospitality calls for a unique set of skills – like teamwork, language, networking, flexibility, communication, organization, multi-tasking and cultural awareness. These skills (known as soft skills) are not only transferrable to practically any other job, but are also highly sought after by employers.
So, if you were to start a career in hospitality and find, somewhere down the line, that you’re interested in doing something different, having these soft skills makes you extremely marketable, which means you’ll have no trouble landing another job.
How to start a career in hospitality?
So you’re interested in starting a career in hospitality, but you’re not sure where to start? Here are a few things you might like to consider when it comes to selecting the right school for you:
- Find a school that combines theory and practice. The best schools combine a top-notch academic program with plenty of opportunities to put classroom learning into practice. Look for a program that teaches basic hotel skills like cooking and rooms division management as well as business subjects, like finance, accounting, marketing & HR.
- Look for a well-structured internship program. Internships are where you’ll get hands-on industry experience, and develop the soft-skills that you need to excel. Find a school that integrates one (or more) internship placements into the learning program – and follows up to make sure that you’re being well-treated and are enjoying a rewarding experience.
- Pick a school that’s in close contact with the industry. Schools that have a strong link to the hospitality industry, as well as companies from other sectors, offer a more enriching experience that’s also more realistic and practical. Find one that has close ties with industry experts, and offers guests lectures and experiences for students to engage with.
- Look for a multi-cultural academic environment. Look for a school whose student body (and staff) is made up of diverse nationalities and cultures, so you can learn from each other and enrich your cultural experience.
- Find a school with a strong alumni network. Networking is the key to a successful hospitality career, so make sure to look for a school that’s got a strong alumni network that’s active and able to support you with new career moves.