According to the 2009 Trends & Statistics survey by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), around 1.9 million people now work in the industry. The chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re one of them. You probably also know exactly why your industry is so popular, and why so many people want to work in it. Yes, the shifts can be long and tiring, but you'll rarely find someone with a hospitality job who doesn't have a passion for it. Here are just ten of the reasons why a career in hospitality is well...great!
1. You make people’s day
Whether you’re a concierge in a hotel, or a kitchen porter working behind the scenes, or even if you’re involved in the management of a hospitality business, every time you come into work you’re making someone's day that little bit better. Your business is all about people. It’s not about widgets or spreadsheets; it’s about making people happy. So much so that there's a dedicated website for it! Check it out and join in the Smiles of Britain Campaign.
2. It’s creative
As well as being a people-oriented industry, hospitality is creative. You are creating a product — be that food, drink, or an experience — and there's always scope to dream up new ways of making it more enjoyable for your customers.
3. It opens a door to the world
Every country in the world has a hospitality industry, and the skills you learn here are readily transferable, meaning that a career in hospitality can very easily be the key to discovering new countries, new culture and new people. If you're considering taking your skills abroad, our sister site, Catererglobal.com, is the place to go for international hospitality jobs, cruise ship jobs and jobs in the Middle East.
4. There’s no need to get stuck
There is such enormous scope within the hospitality industry that there’s never any need for you to get stuck in one niche. You could very easily stay with the same employer and in the space of a few years, move between receptionist jobs, reservations manager to concierge and beyond. Where else could you get that sort of variety?
5. You can take on early responsibility
Just as there is the potential for rapid horizontal movement, you can also make your way up the ladder very quickly in hospitality. If you work hard, acquire your qualifications, get on with customers and colleagues, and show initiative, very soon, you'll find yourself in a senior position managing people and projects.
6. Not 9-5
If you’re the sort of person who likes getting up at the same time in the morning, having the same breakfast, putting on a suit and tie, and then catching the same train into the same office, day after day after day, then hospitality probably isn’t for you. It involves a great deal of variety, not only in terms of the hours you work, but also the work you do during those hours.
7. Clear route in
There is a clear set of hospitality qualifications that are accepted across the industry and there are hundreds of places up and down the country where you can train to achieve those qualifications. You can find out more about getting qualified in our dedicated training section.
Springboard, the hospitality charity, can help you with entry-level qualifications, or you can contact the National Skills Academy for Hospitality to find out about their accredited courses.
8. Great perks
If you work in an office then the perks probably don’t go much further than a dismal Christmas party with cheap drinks, dire music and everyone looking a bit awkward. In hospitality things are different. After all, we’re here to help our customers have fun, so we can also make sure we share some of that fun with each other in the form of employee perks. Rubbing shoulders with celebrities and gourmet meals are just some of the perks those in hotel jobs could enjoy.
9. Great atmosphere
In any workplace, there are always colleagues you don't get on with, and one or two who are a bit unfriendly, but the good news is that not many work in hospitality. We don’t hire people who are unfriendly to our customers, which is why the hospitality industry contains some of the most vibrant, lively and fun people you’ll ever meet.
10. It’s a safe bet
People always need food, drink and somewhere to sleep, don't they? So, even in shaky economic climates like the recent credit crunch, the hospitality industry is relatively secure. In fact, in late 2009, Bob Cotton, CEO of the BHA said of the recession:
"The past 12 months [since October 2008] have been some of the most difficult the [hospitality] industry has experienced for many years, but it is noticeable that both hotels and restaurants are surviving, largely unscathed."
So what are you waiting for?
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