What motivates a recently graduated student to work for an international hospitality brand? If you are unsure about the answer to this question, you might risk losing the race for talent.

In the new era of asset light strategies, the acquisition and retention of young talent is becoming a strategic function for global hospitality companies. Winning companies should embrace new talent strategies to outperform their competitors in their respective markets, and better prepare for upcoming challenges from disruptive hospitality companies.

For the 9th year in a row, the Young Hoteliers Summit Employer Rankings Report explores career path motivations and workplace characteristics young professionals view as the most important. This year, 1766 completed the survey from 95 nationalities across 198 schools.

Key takeaways:

Career Path Analysis

More than ever, intrinsic motivation is key for motivating young graduates to work in a specific company. Development and learning opportunities, company culture and work life balance are key factors graduate consider when choosing a job. Hotel companies should seriously consider these factors to attract and retain talent.

There is also a general increase in interest for traditional hospitality in the past 3 years. This is very promising for a relatively slow changing industry. Hotel companies should benefit as much as possible from this new motivation and continue widely promoting the industry to continue this positive momentum.

Hotel companies should also consider other industries with similar traits as hospitality (banking, events, and luxury and fashion) as competitors to attract talent. Highlighting the core values of hospitality (relationships, teamwork, service) would set hotel companies apart from the other industries.

Communication & HR Practices

In order to reach and attract new talent, hospitality companies should provide opportunities to have direct contact with the company environment by offering personal experiences within the company. Additionally, young graduates place greater value and trust on information or experiences provided by peers. Nowadays, brand and work environment reputations are co-constructed with your potential employees.

To further enhance young graduates’ interest to work for a particular company, hospitality brands could offer potential employees greater insights into their products and company culture.

It is imperative to provide opportunities for young graduates to experience company’s competitive advantages in terms of working environments.

Hospitality companies should also aim to highlight their internal culture and job offering on company websites and presentations.


As mentioned by KPMG (2017), young millennials need to perceive the overall purpose of their work in order to truly commit themselves. Hospitality companies should focus on delivering their employee value proposition in order to reach high retention rates of new graduates. Clear career development and learning opportunities should be presented to the new graduates even during the recruitment process.

When considering turnover of employees that have been working for over a year at the company, fair monetary compensation as well as an adequate work life balance, should also be taken into consideration.

Brand Awareness

The top 10 preferred brands in the Luxury & Upper Upscale segment were fairly similar to the past two years. On the other hand, the results of the top 10 brands present in the Upscale & Upper Midscale segment are more varied. This is a possible signal to greater uncertainty or lack of knowledge of these particular brands. Therefore, greater brand exposure is necessary for Upscale & Upper Midscale brands. Lower scale brands should seize this opportunity to become more visible in the job market and recruit a larger share of young graduate

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