Why Gen Z don’t want to work in Hospitality?
Updated: Mar 26
“I will not pay to let you learn how to be a waiter.” This is what my mom said when she found out that I was applying to a Hospitality school. I convinced her eventually and now I am writing this blog in Hospitality Institute Montreux (HIM), which is a hospitality school. Working in hospitality was an honorable position. If you have seen the movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, you would know that even concierge see themselves as a respectful and educated person at that time. It was not the job that everyone can do. But nowadays, hospitality industry are understaffed, less and less young generation are willing to join the industry as a life-long career. So why is that? And why me and my colleges are still here learning about hospitality at Hotel Institute Montreux?
Who are we talking about?
Currently, the hotel are still mostly managed by the people aged 35-55, so they are referred as Generation X and front line of the millennials. With recent research, by the year of 2024 hospitality industry in UK need to recruit 1.3 million employees with more than 900,000 replacements need to be filled. So all of the hotels are trying to develop new generations, to train them, make them suitable for the future management positions. Generation Z are what they are targeting at, they were born between 1995 to 2009, and has been considered as the new power of hospitality industry, with the research nowadays 48% of the hospitality staffs are aged under 29.
However, even there are large number of Gen Z in the hotel, the recruiters still know little about Gen Z, with the expose of the media and the stereotype, Gen Z are considered as addicted to technology, lazy, anti-social but at the same time Gen Z want to get higher position quickly. All of these prospectives made HR hesitate and made the gap between generations wider.
So why Gen Z are less attracted to Hospitality Industry?
High turnover rate and work intensity in hospitality are nothing new. But there are more reasons, from me and my colleagues have listed some of the reasons that are stopping Gen Z going to the hospitality industry.
1. Perceptions and Bias
Not only my mom thinking hospitality industry are learning how to clean dishes and make
people’s beds. And that is not the only guess, a teacher at school were thinking hospitality are having connections with hospitals before she join to teach. To be honest, majoring in hospitality doesn’t sound as fancy as Economic or International Law, some are thinking they will be look down if they working in the field. The misjudges and bias are one of the concerns students have. Especially in Asia area, people will assume you as a simply server if you tell them you are working in hospitality.
2. Pressure from dealing with guests and co-workers
How to talk and communicate with your guests and co-workers are not as simple as you
chatting with your friends. Yes, you might say you have to do communicate or team work any field you are choosing, even you are an independent writer you still have to communicate with you editor. But, there are some difference in hospitality. You have to show your great hospitality and your knowledge of the property and passing that to your guests and co-workers. Some of my colleagues said they were scared to talk to the guests during their internship, and they feel the pressure of being the troublemaker when everyone else in the team is well-experienced.
3. Unclear career path
This can be divided into two parts, one is we don’t know where to go to start our career is the best for us, the other is we don’t know if this is the right industry for us. It is a job that needs a variety of experience to get promoted. You have to see enough, experience enough and also learn enough to get to the next level. It's a quite long journey to be a GM or other executive positions, with a relatively speaking low salaries.
So why I am still here learning about Hospitality Industry?
What we cannot denial is, with the globalisation, it is easier for people travel and people are more willing to travel, which make working in hospitality will be a great opportunity. On the other hand, I am not the type of person who like to have a settled down life, I like to see more of the world, to travel, to touch different cultures, those made hospitality the perfect choice. In the meantime, Hotel Institute Montreux are providing the maximum help to me and my colleagues to get ready for our future career in any possible ways. It helps us to be confident to go for the next step. At HIM, we have all sort of courses from marketing to finance, from speaking skills to intro to arts, from luxury organisation behaviour to Human Resources. Plus you can choose the specialisation to study on, there are three of them—HR, Luxury management and finance. They are so different but they have something in common: build you ability for team work. Students will be team up with people from different countries with totally opposite backgrounds. It makes students more used to team up with others in the real world.
After 7 terms of study, students at HIM will get Swiss Higher diploma in International Hotel Management and Bachelor degree of Business Administration in Hospitality Management from Northwood university. In this case, graduates will have more options to choose their career, It’s not only for specific jobs in hotel or any hospitality related companies but also in banks, luxury companies, schools, basically every career you can come up with in your mind.
During the study at HIM, there are two mandatory internships, you can apply to anywhere in the world. I have been to Phuket last year, it was a fantastic time, I gained experience and I was sinked into a new culture by working with my team. I love the set of the internships, it helps you to know whether you love what you do or you simply don’t feel its for you. It save us when we choose our first job.
Another big YEAH is that we have our career coaches ready to help. Ether you don’t have a clear mind of what do you want to do, you don’t know which offer to take or you just want to talk to someone, they are always there for you. My coach helps a lot on choosing where to go for my internship, and they will reach out to the hotels to get more informations for you to apply for the job. They are not only helping for internships in hotels, they will help you to apply for you first job after graduation. They also help you to go through contracts and keep in touch when you are doing your internship.
All in all, with the great help from HIM, we, Gen Z are ready to go for an adventure in hospitality industry. It is an honour for me to be here with the best lecturers and amazing colleagues. One of the students here Ms Sui Tung Leung had write an blog about HIM experience: Hotel Institute Montreux: once-in-a lifetime experience! You will learn more about student life at HIM.
If you agree or disagree with this blog post, please feel free to leave me a comment.
Author: Mr Jiahui Huang (Eddie), Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM), from China