By Sean McNeely on March 5, 2018
Want a prosperous and fulfilling career? The hospitality industry may hold the key.
Hospitality includes accommodation, food and beverage services, adventure tourism, recreation, entertainment, transportation and travel services. It’s booming with plenty of opportunities for advancement, growth and real careers, but this sector gets a bad rap.
“Young people may view hospitality as low paying, no job security, part-time work, with no career opportunities,” says Kristy Adams, Humber’s Program Coordinator for its Hospitality Management programs.
It’s a myth, declares Kristy.
“Our industry is an experience-based business, so you can move up extremely quickly. Sure, grads may start at an entry-level position, but you don’t need to stay in that job for very long in order to move up,” says Kristy.
In fact, most hospitality sectors offer what she calls the “11 to 17-month window” for advancement.
“Let’s say you’re at a hotel, you could start on the front desk and work for a year or more, and then move up to become the reservationist. Then you can become the revenue manager, or you might go into sales, and you could be a sales coordinator and then a sales manager. After four or five years in sales, you could be the director of sales,” she says.
Kristy’s own career is a perfect example of this speedy advancement. “I was a general manager at 24 years old, and the president of a hotel company at 34, and I never thought I was going to be a college faculty member,” she says.
"And all of those skills that you’re learning in those sectors are transferrable. Say you worked as a ticketing agent for a major airline. You could become a reservationist, then become a revenue manager for different sectors, and then get into events and catering,” says Kristy.
On top of the growth, there’s so much opportunity on the horizon. “We don’t have enough people to work in our industry, stresses Kristy, who’s on a task force with the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario to boost this sector’s image. “In fact, we’re in a labour crisis.”
According to Tourism HR Canada, between 2015 and 2035, the number of unfilled hospitality and tourism jobs during the 2010–2035 period could climb as high as 240,000.
“We need positively trained professionals to help this growing industry sustain itself,” says Kristy.
Here are six Humber grads who have chosen hospitality careers and have never looked back.