Module 12: Characteristics of the Hospitality Industry

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Hospitality Industry Career Prospects

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tality Management
Career Prospects in the Hospitality Industry

There are always some pros and cons for working in the hospitality industry. The concern about whether a position suits you or not is mainly dependent on your own character and personal interest. Some general views, both positive and negative, about the career prospects of the hospitality industry are summarized in this module as a reference for those who may have the intention of joining this unique and challenging industry.

Due to the development of the hospitality and tourism industry, new hotels and restaurants are constantly opening, catering to the needs of both visitors and locals.

This has facilitated a huge demand for labour in the market, especially in some developing countries.

Career choices are not limited to any one country but to job positions offered by international chains.

These positions can vary from back-of-house to front-of-house, and are at varying levels within the hospitality industry.

There are a variety of positions available to the graduate in the hospitality sector. Some positions that may be selected by graduates with their certificates or diplomas relating to hospitality are shown below.

There are also positions available to the graduate outside of the hospitality sector but in related fields, such as tourism.

Accommodation Positions

Below are some of the hospitality positions that can be selected by graduates with their certificates or diplomas in the accommodation sector:

Front desk receptionist,
Room attendant
, Telephone operator

Food/Service Positions

Below are some of the hospitality positions that can be selected by graduates with their certificates or diplomas in the food/service sector:

Waiter / waitress
Host / hostess
Food runner/Busser

Related Positions

Below are some of the positions that can be selected by graduates with their certificates or diplomas in hospitality related sectors:

Tour guide
Tour escort
Travel agent

Your Preferred Job in the Hospitality Industry

Think of two different positions in the hospitality industry, which you would have an interest in experiencing in the future.
State the advantages that can be provided by choosing the selected positions as your future career.
What are the advantages or disadvantages of the selected positions?
Among the two choices, which one is more preferable and suitable to you?

As mentioned earlier that the success of a hospitality service highly depends on the human contact between staff and customers.

Having a chance to work in the industry, particularly in some front line positions means that there would be many opportunities to meet and communicate with people of different backgrounds and cultures.

For Example

A hotel receptionist can perceive his/her position as a tourist ambassador, which can be both enjoyable and challenging.

The job satisfaction gained through winning
customers’ smiles, as well as its’ interactive
nature make the hospitality industry attractive
to people with an out-going character.

It is common for most people in the hospitality sector to start their careers at entry-level.

However, the career paths are always quite clear for employees and there are always opportunities to get promoted and proceed to management levels based on their experience and performance.

The above image shows a sample career path from entry level to senior management, provided to employees by a prominent fast food chain.

Successful stories are numerous in this sector and someone starting from a room attendant position can, in time, work their way up to general manager of a hotel.

Different from other business and service operations, staff working in hotels and food service operations can usually enjoy some other benefits in addition to the basic salaries, annual bonus and insurance coverage.

Benefits Example

Hotel and restaurant staff are normally provided with 2 duty meals in their work days.

Some hotel staff are also allowed to enjoy a discount rate or associate rate for booking rooms, which may be applied to hotel outlets under the same brand all around the world.

Shift work is very common in the food and beverage and accommodation sectors. Some positions require staff to work overnight, such as night auditors at hotel front desks and hotel security officers.

As there are no such things as public holidays in the hospitality sector, staff can be required to work on weekends or special days, such as Christmas and Easter, etc.

“Long working hours” seem to be the norm of many positions in the hospitality industry. Working over-time due to a shortage of staff at peak seasons of businesses are frequent for both operational staff and managers.

The concerns about the bad effects on one’s health and family life can lead to people hesitating in joining the industry.

In most situations, staff are expected to provide…

Quick Service, High Quality Service …without keeping their customers waiting.

The pressure of maintaining service efficiency and consistency, especially in peak seasons can be tremendous.

The need for frequent communications with customers has especially created intense pressure for staff in front line positions.

Receiving complaints or handling angry customers can cause problems for people starting out in their careers in this industry.

The hospitality industry offers many relatively low-skilled entry level jobs. With the exceptions of management or positions which require fluency of languages or specific skills, staff with no experience generally have low starting salaries.

The differences between large-scaled and small-scaled hotels or food service operations lead to further variations in staff salaries.

As mentioned above, many positions are low-skilled in the hospitality industry, some people would think their job status are relatively lower when compared with other industries, such as banking and finance.

The misperceptions of ‘being a servant to others’ plus other negative views introduced above have also discouraged many graduates from joining the industry.

Mary is a university student who is now studying a degree in hospitality and tourism management. She was assigned an internship as a waitress in a hotel for 3 months. Expecting to be an event planner in the future, Mary has a strong feeling that what she did in her internship seems to be irrelevant to her career objective. She disliked being a waitress because of the long working hours, low pay and heavy physical workloads involved.

Think about Mary’s internship experience and answer the following questions:

1. Do you think the workload of being a waiter/waitress is heavy?

2. How much do you expect a full-time waiter/waitress can earn monthly?

3. How many hours should a waiter/waitress work per day?

4. If you are the internship supervisor, how would you convince and encourage Mary to appreciate her internship opportunity?