Job Outlook: A Peek Into the Hospitality Industry

Vegas strip at night

Contributed to by Kim Evans

Jobs in the hospitality industry are growing at the fastest rate of any industry except for health care. The hospitality industry added 273,700 new jobs in 2011 in the U.S. alone, with many more opening up in emerging markets around the world. Employment in this sector has seen a 17 percent growth between 2004 and 2014, even while other industries grew at a rate of only 14 percent due to the sluggish economic conditions around the globe. The outlook is bright, indeed. 

Hospitality Offers a Wide Range of Job Opportunities 

Few people realize how many people it takes to operate a large chain of hotels, such as Marriott, or a huge restaurant chain, such as Cracker Barrel. Some workers are obvious: the wait staff, greeters and hosts, managers, cooks, and bus staff. But others aren't so much. 

Hotels and restaurants are increasingly depending on computers for everything from making customer reservations to paying bills and keeping track of inventory. This creates a demand for information technology workers who are familiar with how the hospitality industry works and how to address their needs. 

Hotels also need event and conference planners to help their customers plan everything from weddings to family reunions to business meetings. There's also a need for recreational planners to arrange for guest amenities such as spas, fitness centers, swimming pools, and tennis courts. Hotels also need massage therapists to staff these spas. 

Both hotels and restaurants need finance experts for accounting and auditing purposes. Casinos also require managers who are familiar with the unique industry of gaming. All businesses need real estate consultants to help find and evaluate properties to build on, as well as marketing professionals to create and execute profitable advertising campaigns. 

Hospitality Offers Job Opportunities Anywhere in the World 

Not ever worker considers moving across the world to work, but the hospitality industry opens the doors to possibilities beyond your backyard businesses. Emerging markets abroad in countries like Brazil, China, India, and Russia mean new hotels, casinos, resorts, and upscale restaurants are looking for staff who not only have the skills necessary to manage or operate these businesses, but also speak fluent English. 

Workers who have a bachelor degree or higher and are able to manage these facilities can typically find work anywhere in the world, any time they want it. These jobs (both in the U.S. and abroad) are high stress because customers are demanding, hours are long, and the work often needs to be done during extremely long days, overnight, and on weekends and holidays.

This creates a high turnover among employees, meaning the workers who are committed to the work and are capable of handling the hours and stress can find work virtually anywhere, anytime. 

Hospitality Offers Job Opportunities at Every Pay Scale 

Jobs in the hospitality industry are open to every skill of education and experience. Dishwashers, housekeepers, maintenance workers, kitchen staff, servers, and support staff often hire on with excellent companies with no more than a high school diploma or a vocational diploma. However, there is also a need for managers, supervisors, and specialized clerical workers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other workers. These jobs pay well, and usually require at least an associate or bachelor degree. 

Many students working toward a bachelor's or higher degree in hospitality management work as mid-level restaurant or hotel managers or support staff during college or for their internship. In fact, food service jobs account for 8 percent of all the employment in the U.S. The hospitality industry earns trillions of dollars per year worldwide. In addition to the many full-time positions available, the hospitality industry offers lots of part-time positions.

Unlike many industries, which have little use for workers who need to work part-time for reasons like school or family responsibilities, hospitality has a position for most any worker's schedule. 

Hospitality Offers Varied Work Environments

Most of the degree programs offered by colleges and universities require students to decide what work environment they want to be in for the rest of their lives. Medical professionals are generally confined to hospitals or clinics, lawyers to offices, and construction workers to construction sites. Hospitality workers, however, have a range of environments in which they can use their talents, skills, and education. 

A degree in hospitality management offers job opportunities in hotels, restaurants, casinos, lodges, resorts, travel agencies, and many other places. These jobs exist in large, established corporations as well as in small mom and pop businesses and upstarts. When a person with a degree in hospitality management tires of working with stuffy clientele in an upscale resort, they can easily move to a lower key hotel or try something entirely new and exciting at a casino. 

The hospitality industry is also a go-to opportunity for those in need of a second job. Office workers often enjoy a secondary income that allows them to meet new people, be more physically active, and get away from the desk for a few hours per week. Many of these workers enjoy their second job so much they end up going into hospitality services full-time, either by opening their own restaurant or seeking full-time work with their part-time employer. 

Hospitality is also a go-to job for entrepreneurs. Many new business upstarts are restaurants, bed and breakfasts, resorts, cabins, or hotels where the owner can showcase their creativity as well as their business skills. As the industry grows, there is an increasing need for new types of places to eat or stay. Much of this need comes from business travelers looking for comfort and convenience away from home. Yet as the economy continues to recover from the recent recession, an increasing number of people have expendable incomes to spend on eating out and taking vacations. 

Now that over half of the world's population lives in cities, there is an increasing need for people to get away from the urban crowds and enjoy some time in rural areas. This means that smart hotel, casino, restaurant, and resort owners are offering jobs outside the major metropolitan cities. Hospitality jobs range from the busiest cities to the most remote (and beautiful) crannies of the earth. In the hospitality industry, there literally is something for everyone. 

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