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Pursuing a Career in Hospitality

Published: Thursday 11th July 2019

The hospitality industry has boomed in recent years and is expected to continue to grow as people have more disposable income for pursuing leisure activities. This, in turn, has resulted in a lot of new career opportunities for those to work in the tourism, catering, or other areas of hospitality. Furthermore, it’s a sector that has diversified greatly. There are now many sub-sectors and niches in hospitality, catering, and leisure, as demonstrated by the growth in eco-tourism and the vegan/vegetarian industries.

Hospitality - Group Of Confident Multi Ethnic Restaurant Staff

If you like working with people, you’ll love working in hospitality

As the name suggests, the hospitality industry is all about people, so applicants need to be very customer-focussed and possess good communication skills. Don’t go into hospitality expecting a nine-to-five job, as working hours tend to vary greatly, but, at the same time, that means there are many opportunities for those looking for a flexible working arrangement.

With such a wide spectrum of niches and occupations, it’s a very varied sector. From hotel work and tourism to nightlife and catering, there are a huge range of entry-level jobs available for those looking to get into the hospitality industry – this is a good way to find out if a career in the hospitality is for you. No qualifications are necessary, but some previous training or related qualifications will give you an advantage. In fact, most senior staff in the industry started at the bottom and worked their way up.

Cropped image of a young hotel maid bringing clean towels and other supplies.

Study options

However, for those looking to train professionally, there are many options out there, including NVQs, requiring one to two years’ study depending on whether you go part or full time, as well as BTEC qualifications and OCR Nationals, based on a mix of theory and practice.

An apprenticeship is another way into the industry for school leavers, allowing candidates to combine paid employment with practical on-the-job training.

For graduates, a relevant business, hospitality or retail degree should give you a solid head-start for a career in hospitality. But, many big hospitality companies, such as Hilton and Marriott, run management training programs for graduates, even if your degree is in a different discipline. Your degree and level of experience will be a deciding factor when it comes to where your point of entry is. While many entry-level roles can operate on a casual basis with a very basic recruitment procedure, the process for management roles can be more complex consisting of psychometric testing and various types of assessment before the interview.

Picture of two receptionists at work at a hotel

Salary and benefits

As you might expect, if you’re starting out with little experience, salaries in the hospitality sector, especially catering, can be low, but wages have been catching up in recent years. In addition, many hospitality jobs come with good perks and there are excellent opportunities for progression. General Managers and the best chefs can command excellent salaries.

Entry level and graduate jobs exist in a wide range of niches including pubs, hotels, sports centres, catering companies, conference/entertainment venues, heritage sites, and tour operators. To see the best choice of catering jobs and hospitality vacancies at every level, start your search at Zoek.

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