In previous economic downturns, hospitality was seen as a filler option for out-of-work bankers or lawyers. Today, thanks to shows like MasterChef, Welcome to the Parker and First Class all the Way, and the success of young hoteliers such as Sydney legend Justin Hemmes, hospitality is hot and is the first choice for ambitious people seeking a career path with global opportunities.
Working in hotels has become a hot career path
Today the hospitality industry attracts the highest calibre of staff from a variety of fields because it is recognised as an attractive career.
Accor’s national director of talent management and mobility, Debbie Simister, said the days of tourism and hospitality jobs being a ‘fill in” for uni students or travellers are long gone, with the industry now offering real career prospects, accredited training and endless opportunities for job progression.
“People are proud to work in hospitality now and are actively seeking careers in hotels because they know this is one industry that promotes young people, supports global mobility and is fun to work in,” she said. “And when you have fashion icon Peter Morrissey dressing Novotel staff, the sex appeal of the industry goes even higher.
The Australian tourism industry employs over 850,000 people and contributes close to $70 billion to the national economy. Despite the downturn, it continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.
“A career with Accor can take people from working behind the bar in a hotel in Sydney to managing a multi-million dollar property in Shanghai in a relatively short space of time,” she said.
“We are investing heavily in ensuring that the hospitality sector can retain the best people and attract talent from a range of competing industries,” Simister said.
Accor operates its own nationally-accredited training Academy as well as two specific development programs that fast-track hospitality careers.
The Graduate Management Trainee (GMT) Program is a one-year program aimed at getting graduates into supervisory roles while the Vivier National Management Traineeship (VNMT) is aimed at fast-tracking managers into General Manager positions after completing a two-year program.
Accor even offers a management program for finance graduates that is especially popular right now, to attract candidates into strategic positions such as financial controller.
“In the past six months Accor has seen a huge surge in job applications from people from all types of backgrounds because hospitality is really starting to be recognised as an industry where hard work can take you anywhere you want to go,” Simister said.
Accor has some great success stories from participants in its VNMT Program, which provides at least three different placements at different hotels over a 24-month period.
Since joining the program, Michael Parsons, 30, has travelled the world including the United States, Japan, Indonesia and China, and has just moved from Sydney to Bangkok to take on a new role as director of marketing support.
“Accor is a great employer to work for because it has hotels and resorts across the world but also because it has a strong focus on training and fosters advancement for those who are passionate about their careers,” Parsons said.
Marketing man: Michael Parsons
After completing a Bachelor of Business and Hotel Management, Parsons joined Accor in 1999 and has held a variety of positions in food and beverage, front office and corporate office before taking his current role.
Benjamin Krieg is another success story, having started with Accor in 2003. He worked in a variety of roles including restaurant supervisor, front office receptionist and night manager before becoming assistant manager of the combined Novotel and Ibis hotel complex at Sydney Olympic Park.
In 2006 Krieg signed up as a VNMT participant and just three years later has now been made General Manager of the brand new Ibis Sydney King St Wharf, a multi-million dollar hotel with 91 rooms.
Sydney Olympic Park star: Benjamin Krieg
“Working for Accor is great because if you are willing to work hard there are endless opportunities,” he said. “There are not too many industries where you can start at the bottom and move so quickly up the corporate ladder at a young age.
“The hospitality industry is far more professional than people perceive it to be and offers a real career path for the complete range of job seekers because it is so multi-faceted,” Krieg said.
Globally Accor employs more than 150,000 staff in over 100 professions across five continents.