As an industry we must ensure that graduates do not rule out a career in hospitality, says Ellenborough Park operations manager Nicholas Walley
Even though there are a vast amount of hospitality courses available, it seems to me that only a handful of graduates enter the field. Somewhere along the line we are losing the interest of potential new recruits.
The industry needs to encourage people to think of hospitality as a positive career choice, and promote the positive stories of recruitment retention and talent progression in the industry.
One issue cited for not choosing a hospitality career is the low starting salary. But when this is compared to other starting-out careers, people generally do earn junior wages. When a managerial position is reached the pay doesn't differentiate much from manager roles in other industries.
Obviously, the evening and weekend antisocial hours can be seen as a drawback. Yet there is a benefit to this as time off midweek means quieter public places and less traffic.
For me the pros of a hotelier vocation certainly outweigh the cons. For example, employees sometimes get to stay at the hotel they work for, and maybe other nice hotels, at a discounted rate. Some hotel groups have hundreds of hotels around the world and so lots of money can be saved on top class hotels. Also, team members may get invited to events such as wine tasting which can sometimes include rare wines not always available to the general public, which in turn helps to enhance their knowledge.
Hospitality employees also get to enjoy other people's special moments. It is very rewarding to make someone's experience special by delivering a great service at a wedding or a milestone birthday party.
A job at a hotel or restaurant is good for professional development as many put employees through training courses. Plus, you can't beat the skills learnt in a customer-facing, hands-on environment.
My role can often be unpredictable and this is the part I enjoy most. At Ellenborough Park there's always interesting and inspiring personalities staying, various events and functions and obstacles to overcome. I've learnt to think differently about how each issue encountered is managed and resolved. These are all very good transferable skills.
A career in hospitality is rewarding and full of opportunities. The positives always outweigh the negatives and we should do all we can to ensure graduates seriously contemplate hospitality as a profession.