|Sources of vacancies|
The hospitality sector is one of the UK's fastest growing industries offering a variety of opportunities at all levels. The amount of leisure time we have at our disposal is on the increase and as a result there has been a major growth in the number of hotels, restaurants, pubs and contract hospitality services. The sector employs 1.6 million people in the UK; opportunities for graduates are increasing and there is scope to work internationally. It is a fast-paced, customer focused environment; ideal for those who would not be satisfied with a typical 9 to 5 job!
AGCAS, the professional body for higher education careers advisory services, has produced an Industry Insight for Hospitality which provides an overview of what it is like to work in this area.
|Public House Manager|
It is important to recognise the importance of work experience in the hotel and catering sector. Employers are looking for evidence that you understand what the industry involves and the demands made of its staff, this is particularly so if your degree is in an unrelated discipline. Commercial awareness is an often over touted phrase within graduate recruitment but your ability to understand the challenges facing companies within this sector is important. Evidence of the key skills that they desire is also paramount, particularly in terms of your ability to deal effectively with people. Relevant work experience includes working in bars, hotels, restaurants and retail outlets; any experience in a customer-focused environment is useful.
Casual and temporary employment
There is a lot of casual and temporary work available in the hotel and catering industry. This type of employment is incredibly valuable to anyone considering a professional career in this sector. University student employment services, including the one at Durham, will often advertise short-term positions linked to catering or hospitality. You can access these services via the NASES website. Recruitment agencies are also a valuable source of temporary work. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation provides a searchable database of recruitment agencies; you can search by location but also by sector (e.g. hospitality, catering etc). There are a number of websites dedicated to summer employment:
There are also some very useful job sites that are specific to the hotel and catering sector. The opportunities will vary greatly in terms of role and responsibility but temporary posts will be advertised.
- City Catering
- Jobs in Hotels
- Caterer search
- Hotel Jobs
- Careers in Food & Drink
Internship and structured work experience opportunities do exist in this sector but are not as readily available as they are in areas such as law and finance. Those that do exist tend to be offered by some of the larger recruiters. Typically, formal internships are aimed primarily at students in their penultimate year; closing dates can be as early as December and January! The internships last 8-12 weeks; they are usually salaried and involve structured, project based work. Opportunities are advertised via our vacancy service, which is available through the Careers Centre website, but also through the main graduate careers websites such as Prospects, Target Jobs and Milkround. It is feasible to undertake work experience with SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) through the ‘Step’ programme. A further option is to approach organisations speculatively with a persuasive CV and covering letter.
The Caterer Search website contains a useful directory of hospitality companies. Another helpful resource is UK Skills Passport which provides some valuable careers tools as well as links to interesting employers.
It is useful to consider aspects of the hotel and catering industry that particularly interest you as this may help to broaden your work experience options. As this sector recruits highly commercial graduates in a range of functions (e.g. finance, HR, marketing, sales) internships in other sectors are incredibly valuable.
The hotel and catering industry is one of the UK's fastest growing industries offering a variety of opportunities at all levels. The amount of leisure time we have at our disposal is on the increase and as a result there has been a major growth in the number of hotels, restaurants, pubs and theme parks. It is a fast-paced and exciting environment and ideal for those who would not be satisfied with a typical 9 to 5 job.
The type of work involved depends on the organisation and the specific job function. In addition to business management opportunities, graduates can consider employment within sales, marketing, event management, personnel, purchasing and finance. The majority of graduate opportunities within the hotel and catering sectors are not subject specific but having one of the following degree subjects may increase your chances of being successful in the selection process:
- Hotel and Hospitality Management
- Business & Management
- Business & Languages
- Travel and Tourism
Some of the larger companies in this sector (e.g. hotel and catering chains) offer structured training programmes, particularly in the area of hospitality and catering management. It is important to research entry requirements carefully as some organisations, particularly in the hotel industry, may stipulate a relevant degree (e.g. hospitality management, business). Language skills, while not always required, are a useful additional skill to posses. The Target Jobs guide to hospitality, leisure and tourism is a useful starting point with which to research graduate schemes; also refer to Prospects and Milkround. Graduate training schemes provide a good overall grounding in business management, although it is possible to specialise in areas such as human resources, finance or marketing. The UKSP website occasionally advertises graduate roles in addition to other opportunities; registered users (free service) can create a profile that is visible to employers in the hospitality industry.
Examples of graduate recruiters
- InterContinental Hotels Group
- Compass Group
- Four Seasons
- Clifton Hotels
- Macdonald Hotels and Resorts
Hospitality & Catering
Other employment opportunities
There are a lot of potential opportunities for graduates outside of the formal training programmes. The breadth of employers and job roles is such that entry, assistant and trainee level positions represent a viable means for graduates to get a foothold within an appropriate organisation. The resources below are particularly useful in respect of the wider job market.
Useful vacancy websites
- Opportunities across all areas of hospitality including management, sales, marketing, front of house and back of house
- Possible to upload CV and receive targeted job emails
Useful directory of recruiters
- Vacancy site searchable by location and/or keyword
- Strong selection of assistant and entry level positions
Excellent careers resources available
- Opportunities searchable by keyword, location or category
- Vacancies in hotels, restaurants, contract catering and pubs/bars
- Useful directory of companies
Postgraduate study is not a requirement for the majority of opportunities in the hospitality industry but is something that can improve your employability. Postgraduate programmes that are specific to the hospitality industry, or that are relevant to the career path that you wish to pursue within the hospitality industry, are particularly useful. Broader based business courses can also be helpful, particularly if you are interested in management roles within the industry. Postgraduate study is academic by nature but, in the context of this sector, must reflect the professional needs of the industry. A programme incorporating a strong vocational or business focus (possibly an internship or placement) allied with established professional links to employers will be of real value in terms of employability.
Further information on postgraduate courses can be found on the Prospects and FindaMasters websites. Research the courses on offer before you apply; don't assume that they are all the same, particularly as the hospitality sector incorporates such a diverse range of opportunities. It is vital to approach admissions tutors at an early stage to establish specific entry requirements. The majority of courses are open to applicants of any degree discipline but relevant work experience is usually required. There are no absolute deadlines for postgraduate courses in this field but it is recommended that you apply early.
In addition to postgraduate level study, there are other qualifications to be considered. The Institute of Hospitality provides an overview of the available qualifications as well as list of approved training centres. Information on qualifications and training options, such as apprenticeships, is available through People 1st (www.people1st.co.uk). Babcock is one of the main providers of vocational training in this sector.