'Crisis means opportunity’ for hospitality management students, says Institute of Hospitality

Industry panel
Student guests
01/02/2019 - 06:00
The Institute of Hospitality’s London branch held its annual Student Learning and Development Forum this week (28 January), acknowledging the opportunities that Brexit is offering current UK hospitality management students.

Despite widespread fear and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the organisation argued that in a buyer’s market “crisis means opportunity,” as pay rates rise and candidates continue to receive training and career progression.

A number of industry leaders took to the stage, including Institute of Hospitality president, Alastair Storey and Bartlett Mitchell senior operations manager, Gregory Hall, to share their insight into hospitality careers and advise students on “how to get ahead.”

Former general manager at The Churchill, Michael Gray, explained: “Because of Brexit people are leaving (the industry) as they don’t necessarily feel welcome. As a result, pay rates are going up and there are lots of vacancies.

“You (the students) are the future. We need you.

“We (hospitality businesses) must think globally and seek out who is the best, and look at the competition and see how we can be better than them.

“We need energy, commitment and open minds.”

Vice president of people and culture at Red Carnation Hotels, Liz McGivern, reinforced that recruitment is a two-way process and advised attendees to demonstrate the following: aptitude to learn; hard work; professionalism (energy, enthusiasm, smile); set objectives and communicate them; ask questions; get involved and be interested (even when you’re not feeling it) – put the show on.

Whnen asked ‘with so many applicants, why are there still vacancies?’ CH&Co head of people development, James Godwin, replied: “It’s about fit.

“If you are a blanket application, we will see that. People apply for roles they don’t necessarily want.”

Tips included: make applications personal, to-the-point and with absolutely no spelling mistakes, as well as calling or personally visiting recruiters, or creating a video of yourself.

According to Institute of Hospitality, businesses also need to pay attention to their hiring processes.

Highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion, it was revealed that although 58% of the UK hospitality workforce is female, less than 20% of management roles are held by women.

Owner of Georgian House, Serena von der Heyde, argued that this statistic has not changed in 20 years and “companies will lose their credibility if they don’t deliver on diversity and inclusion.

“(Diversity) is one of our selling points and companies with diverse personnel are much closer to their customer base” - research proves that companies with a mix of men and women at senior levels are more successful.

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