Crystal-ball Gazing: Top trends in the hospitality industry
Looking for a way to read the stars to find out what the hot trends are in the hospitality industry? You don’t need a psychic to understand the rapidly-changing world of hospitality jobs. Hcareers consulted our own experts to interpret the messages from the crystal ball. Here are eight hot trends changing the face of the hospitality industry for job seekers.
1. Employers are raising the educational bar
“On the hiring side, there’s a distinct trend in employers looking for candidates with post-secondary degrees and diplomas in hospitality and foodservice-related disciplines,” says Jordan Romoff of Lecours Wolfson, a North American recruiter of hospitality executives, managers and chefs. Now many community colleges, which used to offer traditional hands-on, practical learning, are moving to degree programs as part of the drive to industry professionalism.
As an adjunct, coop programs are on the rise. Says Romoff, “If you’re serious about the business, it’s important to work in areas and test them out while you’re at school to provide you with glimpses of different aspects, so when you leave school you have a better idea of where to concentrate your career efforts.”
2. Higher tech training is supplementing traditional approaches
Remember when you had to physically attend classes to upgrade your skills? Those courses still exist at bricks and mortar institutions, but today’s harder and faster-working employees are getting their skills updated using the media they’re most familiar with.
CEC Entertainment, for instance, decided to use the iPod to deliver video training to the front line. CEC’s Todd Horchner piloted a project to offer training “where it’s needed and when it’s needed.” He found employees responded to the quick hits of interactive training.
3. The blogosphere is taking over
The internet has taken over as the marketplace of choice for getting sound hospitality industry advice. Now more and more recruiters are posting blogs offering advice to job seekers on everything from writing a first-rate resume to finding your ideal career. Some popular HR-related blogs for job seekers are YourHRGuy.com, www.cheezhead.com, resumehell.blogspot.com, www.employmentblawg.com, and blog.penelopetrunk.com.
4. Internet job boards are the place to go, but you have to be on top of them
If you thought a one-time posting of your resume to the internet would be enough, think again. Recruiters now visit sites like hcareers.com daily to find new talent, and you have to keep your information refreshed 24/7.
Says Romoff, “The candidates with the most up-to-date resumes are typically the most motivated. You must learn how to manage your career via the net and job boards now. People aren’t talking anymore, they’re emailing. All communication is going electronic. There’s a much higher degree of mechanical filtering of candidates through the net. You might not have the opportunity to speak to a human at the beginning of the process, so you need to learn the new style of communications.”
5. Employers are offering more benefits
With many centers experiencing record low unemployment, employers are sweetening the reasons for job seekers to choose their operation. U.S. specialty staffing and recruiting services firm Ajilon Office has found that one of the top five reasons workers stay in a job is access to medical and dental insurance. As the hospitality industry struggles to attract and retain hourly, part-time and seasonal employees, savvy employers are sweetening their benefits to attract candidates.
6. Salaries are going up, up, up for management track job seekers
The average salary for general managers of some upscale resorts is now more than $100,000, plus a handsome annual bonus. John T. O’Hara, general manager of the 195-unit Rio Rico Resort and Country Club in Rio Rico, Arizona, was quoted as saying, “You know it will cost you in the long run if you lose a person to the competition because of compensation issues.” Hospitality companies are bending over backwards to attract, train and retain these high fliers.
7. Job seekers don’t want to be workaholics
Employees today are looking for a better life-work balance, and employers are responding with more flexible work environments. “Issues like family and lifestyle are playing a more important role, even at the early stages of one’s career,” says Romoff. “In the past, you got into the hospitality industry knowing there weren’t going to be the same lifestyle advantages as a job, let’s say, in banking. Employers are now offering better lifestyle and career opportunities to attract good candidates.” They’re also allowing more employees to work from home at least part-time, especially in the sales and marketing area.
8. Go green or go home
The hospitality industry is greening, and employees will be expected to go green, too. Hotels and resorts are at the forefront of incorporating more environmentally friendly materials in their operations. Ashville, Ohio, for instance, now boasts the Cooks Creek Golf Club, an environmentally sustainable golf course featuring alternative energy sources and conservation techniques. Many of the big hotel chains are actively reducing their “carbon footprint.”
So how do you become a crystal-ball reader and trend-spotter? Job seekers need to look beyond the hospitality industry to see the next big thing. Says Romoff, “Look at what manufacturers, retailers, and the top 500 organizations in the world are doing to get a handle on new trends. They’re bound to trickle down to the foodservice and hospitality industry.” Combine research with networking and you’re bound to see the trends clearly.