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Hospitality Graduate Survey Results for 2012

Part Two - The Hospitality Graduate and Student Perspective


By Jeff Ross, Managing Director, Hospitality Graduate Recruitment
May 2012


In early 2012 HGR conducted a 3-part survey around the general themes of hotel school education, and student and graduate employment within the hospitality industry.  Part 2 focused upon the student and graduate's perspective, with the aim of assessing the benefits to our industry in recruiting hotel school students and graduates, as well as the relevance of current hospitality education programmes to the industry. 

This part of the survey was sent to a sample of 1000 current hotel school students and 1000 recent hotel school graduates internationally.  Below are the key findings:

1.  Identify the primary benefit to a hospitality business in employing a hotel school graduate.
  • Graduates are good at completing project-based tasks on top of their day-to-day role - 17%
  • Value for money - 16%
  • Strong Achievement Drive - 16%
  • Good operational (hospitality) knowledge - 14%
  • Language Ability - 14%
  • Positive Attitude - 10%
  • Leadership skills - 8%
  • Ability to work well in multicultural teams - 5%
2.  In general, for what level of position do you think hotel school graduates are ready by the time of their graduation?
  • Management Trainee - 44%
  • Entry level - 15%
  • Supervisor - 18%
  • Junior Manager - 10%
  • Trainee - 10%
  • Not sure 3%
3.  Do you feel that a 6 month internship/traineeship period meets a student's on-the-job learning needs?
  • 6 months works well - 73%
  • 6 months is too short - 27%
4.  Do you believe that interns should be paid a salary for their training, or should hospitality interns be willing to conduct their internship for free (with the employer covering all necessary living expenses)?
  • Interns should be paid - 88%
  • Interns should be willing to work with living expense provision only and no salary - 12%
5.  Do you intend to enter the hospitality industry once you complete your hospitality studies?
  • Yes - 86%
  • No - 14%
6.  Do you feel that your hospitality educational qualification has sufficiently prepared/did sufficiently prepare you for the hospitality career that you wish to undertake/are currently undertaking?
  • Yes - 75%
  • No - 25%
If 'no', list the reasons why not: (selected, repeated responses shown below only)
  • "too big a gap between theory and practice"
  • "to be successful within the hospitality business it is important first to have enough work experience, which can only be gained over time on the job"
  • "all we learn in school is theory, and when we get to the "real world" everything is done differently"
7.  What would you encourage hotel school management to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of their curriculum that would benefit most the graduate aiming to enter the hospitality industry after graduation?  (selected, repeated responses shown below only)
  • "to incorporate a 12 month placement as compulsory within the curriculum"
  • "to include language courses as mandatory within the curriculum"
  • "closer alliances with hospitality employers for the provision of more and better job placements"
  • "to implement more thorough student selection criteria, before accepting students into hotel schools, including English language screening"
  • "to cover more practical work, and less theoretical teaching"
  • "to include practical subjects in the first years of study, to prepare students better for internships"

From the above selection of survey results there are several key points of note.  Quite refreshing is the clear recognition from students and graduates on the importance of sufficient practical components within the hospitality educational curriculum.  Industry will no doubt murmur its collective approval to this sentiment.  Similarly, it is positive to witness the realization of the importance of languages, both 'second' languages and 'native' English.

A point which to some extent backs up findings from the hotel school survey (part 1 of this 3 part survey), is that of the desire from many to conduct a 12 month internship period rather than 6 months.  27% of respondents felt that 6 months was too short for an internship duration (37% of hotel school careers department respondents answered the same, and 56% of employers agreed that 6 months is too short).  Whilst this is not conclusive in itself, there is sufficient reference to the need for longer internship timing in other areas of the survey to give merit to the finding.

It is extremely encouraging to learn that 86% of respondents do want to enter the industry upon graduation.  Previous HGR studies have shown much lower 'retention' rates, therefore many congratulations should be conveyed to all educational establishments for positively influencing this reassuring sentiment.

For all these themes, one must be careful to avoid overly generalising, and conclusions should be selectively drawn.  In combination with the other 2 parts of the HGR survey however, a more thorough picture is available.  Thank you to all who participated in the survey.

Hospitality Graduate Recruitment (HGR) helps global hospitality employers find hotel school students and alumni for entry level, supervisory, trainee and junior management positions.  HGR operates a leading website which allows you to search for candidates and allows students and alumni to apply online to vacancies.  HGR works with over 300 partner hospitality management schools internationally, offering an extensive and diverse network of fresh talent. 
Visit our website for more information or contact Jeff N Ross, Managing Director, Hospitality Graduate Recruitment,

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Jeff Ross
Managing Director
Hospitality Graduate Recruitment (h-g-r)
Luzern, Switzerland
0041 41 370 6759 (Direct line)

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Also See: Hospitality Graduate Survey Results for 2012: Part One - The Hotel School Perspective / Jeff Ross / April 2012

Hospitality Graduate Survey Results for 2011 Demonstrates Primary Interests Remains with Hotel Operations; Additionally Culinary Department Interest is on the Rise / April 2011

Hotel Jobs at Risk: Credit Crunch Likely to Impact Human Resource Continuity / Jeff Ross/ October 2008

Co-ops, Consortiums, and Clusters; Pros, Cons, and Cautions For Hotel Owners / Ronald A. Nykiel and James C. Makens / February 2005

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