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India Hotel Attrition Rates Ranging from 30-35%; Hotel Staffers
 Leaving for Cruise Lines for Pay Up to Five Times Higher

By Ambika Naithani, The Economic Times, IndiaMcClatchy-Tribune Business News

Apr. 7, 2007 - MUMBAI, India -- People working in the hotel industry are leaving it by boatloads, quite literally. Hospitality business, where the attrition rate is anywhere in the range of 30-35 percent, is increasingly losing a chunk of its workforce to cruise liners (CL).

Says Gurmeet Singh, country director of human resources, Marriott India, which has close to 2,100 employees across the country, "Our associated attrition is 35 percent, of which 12 percent go into cruise liners."

Most of the people ET spoke to held that those who leave the hotel industry are the ones with typically 2-3 years of work experience. The reason? The most important, of course, is money.

Says John Scaria, deputy manager, HR, Fleet Maritime Services, which has five cruise liners and some 7,000 crew members, "The greatest demand is in restaurants and bars as steward/ stewardess. The salary one gets is easily five times what one draws in hotels." Mr Scaria adds that with recruitment rising at the rate of 25 percent, they are recruiting about 85 percent from the hotel industry.

Mr Singh says that of the entire lot leaving hotels to join cruise liners, maximum gravitate towards the waiter category. "The starting salary of a liner waiter is $800 plus tips and all expenses that include medical, food and accommodation. The salary for same jobs in India offers Rs 5,000," he adds.

According to Mr Scaria, another added advantage of joining liners is employees get tax benefits as they are non-resident Indians (NRIs) and also get to maintain a work life balance with typically an entry-level employee spending about 10 months on sea and taking a 2-month off.

Salman Kureshi, director-HR, The Park, Delhi, begs to differ. "I see the reverse happening. They generally return after two contracts, each for a duration of about nine months, and the main reason is lack of family life," adds Mr Kureshi. Mr Scaria contends that the life here is not strict as one rises up the ladder, with the working hours getting more relaxed.

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To see more of The Economic Times, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Copyright (c) 2007, The Economic Times, India

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