If you have an energetic outlook and a passion for customer service, Australia’s Hospitality and Tourism industry is waiting to welcome you. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends show that job ads for the industry are on the up and experts say talent is in hot demand.
SEEK job ads for the Hospitality and Tourism industry increased by 4% year-on-year in September and the average advertised salary was $60,455. A report from Tourism Research Australia shows that tourism contributed $115.5 billion in expenditure for the year ending March 2016. This represents an increase of 8% or $8.9 billion from last year. Deb Davis, Executive Director of Frontline Recruitment says industry growth is also due to people spending more of their leisure time on hospitality experiences. “People's lifestyles are changing and they are spending more in the hospitality industry,” she says. “If you compare the past five years, there's been a definite lift.”
SEEK job ads for the Hospitality and Tourism industry increased by 4% year-on-year in September and the average advertised salary was $60,455.
- Talent on the menu. Davis says demand for wait staff is always a good gauge of overall industry performance. “Increases in job ads for wait staff are an indication of growth,” she explains.
SEEK job ads for wait staff roles increased by 4% year-on-year for the three months from July to September and Davis expects this increase to continue into the festive season. “Wait staff are the face of a café or restaurant and a key skill in demand is strong customer service,” she says.
Excellent food is also a key ingredient to the hospitality industry. In good news for culinary talents, SEEK job ads for chefs and cooks increased by 6% year-on-year for the same period. Davis says an increasing demand is also being reflected in salaries. “Chef salaries have been on the rise,” she says. “We haven't seen attraction fees yet, which are offered as an extra incentive on top of salaries, but I think that if demand keeps going the way it is for good chefs, we certainly could see this being introduced as a way of securing the best talent”.
Andrew Morley, Director, Talent Resourcing – Australasia for Intercontinental Hotels Group, is also experiencing a growing demand for talented chefs. “One area of our business that is perhaps most under pressure is the recruitment of chefs,” he says. “As an organisation, we are looking to enhance our food and beverage experience even more than we have in recent years. This will continue to be an area of focus.”
- First impressions count. The Intercontinental Hotels Group has 32 hotels across Australasia and employs approximately 5,000 people. Morley notes that job ad growth across the industry is a reflection of increased business activity within a competitive market. “We have a greater desire to ensure that our customers are getting the experience that they're looking for,” he explains. “All organisations are competing for a fairly small group of talented people, whether they be at senior level or even a very junior level.”
Morley explains that first impressions are essential to overall guest experiences, therefore great attention is paid to the recruitment of front-of-house roles. “These roles are imperative for us,” he says. “It's a first point of contact for customers coming into our businesses and we are always looking to elevate our ability to deliver on that.”
This is reflected in SEEK job ads for front office and guest services roles, which increased by 6% year-on-year for the period of July to September. Job ads for housekeeping roles also increased over the same period by 4%. “I think all hotels are going through a time where there's been consistently high volumes of hotel occupancy, so we are going to see pressure in those areas,” explains Morley. “We are going to be increasing our teams in housekeeping, food and beverage and front office. As an organisation, we can provide candidates with great learning. We really want people to have an energised attitude and a passion for the industry. If there's an area they want to learn and develop, we are absolutely able to provide them with that knowledge and skill set. We're really looking for attitude as opposed to a complete range of experience.”
- The impact of automation. Like many industries, Hospitality and Tourism is experiencing the effects of automation. SEEK job ads for reservations roles, for example, declined by 7% year-on-year for the three months from July to September and Morley attributes this to increasing automation.
Job ads for travel agents/consultants also experienced a decline of 13% over the same period. Davis says that although these roles have been impacted by the growth in online consumer bookings, this may be able to change. “Many consumers are sick of doing their own administration on the internet,” she says. “The pendulum is going to swing slightly the other way. We are starting to see travel agents advertising very low priced travel and packages. I think there's a real market there.”
Davis adds that the key to success in any role within hospitality and tourism is the ability to keep the customer top of mind. “As consumers continue to invest more of their free time in this sector, they have high expectations. If you want to be successful in this industry, customer service is key.”