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Hospitality Graduate Survey Results for 2012

Part Three - The Employer 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 3 focused upon the hospitality employer'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 500 hotel General Managers and 500 hotel Human Resource Managers internationally.  Below are the key findings:

1.  Have you employed a hotel school graduate within your business in the last 12 months?
  • Yes - 64%
  • No  - 36%
If 'yes', for what level of position?
  • Trainee - 34%
  • Management Trainee - 28%
  • Entry Level - 20%
  • Supervisory - 15%
  • Management - 3%
2.  Would you consider employing a hotel school graduate within your business in the coming 12 months?
  • Yes - 90%
  • No - 10%
3.  Have you employed a hotel school intern within your business in the last 12 months?
  • Yes - 65%
  • No  - 35%
If 'yes', in which department?
  • Front Office - 39%
  • F&B - 33%
  • Housekeeping - 12%
  • Kitchen - 12%
  • Sales - 4%
4.  Would you consider employing a hotel school intern within your business in the coming 12 months?
  • Yes - 92%
  • No - 8%
5.  Please specify any skills or personality traits that you feel hotel school graduates lack when entering the employment market in general?
  • Developed influencing skills
  • Fluency in a second language
  • Sales skills
  • People management experience
  • Passion at service level
  • Good (written) communication skills in English
  • Inability to easily adapt to the local culture
  • Understanding and expectation of performance driven promotion
6.  Identify the primary benefit to a hospitality business in employing a hotel school graduate.
  • Positive Work Ethic - 26%
  • Strong Achievement Drive - 17%
  • Ability to work well in multicultural teams - 14%
  • Good operational (hospitality) knowledge - 10%
  • Language Ability - 10%
  • Value for money - 7%
  • Graduates are good at completing project-based tasks on top of their day-to-day role - 7%
  • Other - 9%
7.  In general, for what level of position do you think hotel school graduates are ready by the time of their graduation?
  • Management Trainee - 30%
  • Entry level - 28%
  • Trainee - 19%
  • Supervisor - 13%
  • Junior Manager - 10%
      Do you feel that a 6 month internship/traineeship period meets your needs operationally, or is it too short a period of time?
  • 6 months works well - 44%
  • 6 months is too short - 56%
8.  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 - 74%
  • Interns should be willing to work with living expense provision only and no salary - 26%
From the above selection of survey results there are several key points of note.  Firstly, it is pleasing to see that the majority of respondents had in fact employed both graduates and interns within their businesses in the last 12 months, and that the vast majority would consider doing the same in the coming 12 months.  In terms of employment offers, let us hope that hospitality employers put their money where their mouth is, in terms of offering some form of 'management training programme', which is what 31% of respondents considered to be the most appropriate employment entry point for today's graduate.

It is conclusive that a 6 month internship period is considered to be too short in general within the industry.  From the other 2 survey angles conducted by HGR (to hotel schools and to graduates and students), this has shown to be a common viewpoint.  Interestingly, 26% of respondents believed that internship candidates should be willing to work without a salary.  This will not be too well received by the hotel schools and the potential candidates, although it was not so long ago (especially in Western Europe) that the majority of training placements were conducted without a salary.  Moreover, it was generally accepted that candidates should find a placement close to home, therefore removing the need for accommodation and travel, with the employer realistically only providing uniform and meals.  Times have of course changed, but some may argue that the change has occurred by too great a margin.

It is pleasing to see some generic attitudes and competencies being identified by our employers when asked about the benefits of employing hotel school graduates.  These included positive work ethic, strong achievement drive, operational knowledge and cultural awareness.  Conversely, perhaps surprising to some, were the identified shortfalls of (written) English language, fluency in other secondary languages, and the ability to adapt to a local culture in the workplace.

One must of course be careful in over generalising, and the above conclusions need to be selectively read, and taken within the context of the exercise.  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 Two - The Hospitality Graduate and Student Perspective / Jeff Ross / May 2012

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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