Hotel Employment: Growth Through Knowledge, Education, and Experiential Learning
By Hicham Jaddoud Senior Director of Hospitality, North Star Mohican Casino|Resort|Golf Course | February 16, 2020
Hospitality and Tourism industry accounts for more than 11% of the global GDP according to the 2019 Travel & Hospitality Industry Outlook. The hotel industry is projected to sustain a healthy growth in 2020, highlighting an increasing demand for skilled employees. Staffing and training have historically been an issue in the service industries, specifically hospitality and tourism. An organization's commitment to training and employee development can have a considerable impact, both as a driver of employee satisfaction and retention.
Employees that lack training and coaching will end up getting frustrated and quit the organization. The turnover rate in the hospitality sector is one of the highest among service industries. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that rate to be about 74%. This occurs mainly because of the fast-paced nature of the business, and the fact that so many employees and new graduates are placed into the workplace with minimum training. Employees in the hotel business face several physical and psychological pressures related to low wages, long working hours, and demanding guests. Many workers enter the hotel industry with the expectation of working the minimum of time at any organization.
Hospitality economic data reveal that of all the sectors that fall under the hospitality industry; food services, airlines, car rental, accommodation, and cruise lines, contribute over 50% of the total ouput of the U.S. Economy. The chart below highlights the Compound Annual Growth Rate in the hospitality sector within the last decade.
Driven by rising consumers' purchasing power and digital innovation, and regardless of the economic recession and staffing shortage, there is no doubt the hospitality industry will continue to enjoy an unprecedented growth over the years. The numbers tell the story well about the industry's development. However, the hospitality industry has failed to build a talent pool of candidates with the appropriate education and training necessary to keep up with growth and guests' changing expectations.
Department of Labor estimates that due to a combination of a high growth rate, high employee turnover and a vast range of unskilled workforce, the industry will always experience a staffing and training shortage, unless hotel operators change their hiring practices, training, and retention efforts. Couple years ago, there were approximately 353,000 open positions in hospitality in the United States. As of 2018, the hospitality industry in the U.S. had 1,139,000 job openings. (Deloitte, 2019)
The hotel industry is large and diverse. It is one of the oldest and most labor-intensive industries. Although different positions within the hotel business require different skillsets and knowledge levels, the industry has notoriously employed low-skilled and under-paid workforce and has a culture of high turnover.