Hospitality and Leisure
Why a job in Hospitality & Leisure makes a great career choice
Do you fancy working for your favourite football club or spending your working day dressed up as a wizard from Harry Potter? From hotels to leisure centres, restaurants to rollercoasters, Hospitality & Leisure is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The Hospitality & Leisure sector currently employs around 2.3 million people in the UK and this number is predicted to grow to 3.3 million by 2020.
Hospitality & Leisure jobs can be tremendously varied and employers range in size from international household-name restaurant and hotel groups to small family-run businesses.
Hospitality jobs centre around providing food, drink or accommodation services to customers. Leisure jobs focus on providing support in recreational activities. All areas of the Hospitality & Leisure industry involve an element of retail.
What skills and qualifications do I need?
The range of skills you need for this industry is almost as wide as the range of careers available. You can learn all the important things about management, finance and the ins-and-outs of the industry with a qualification in hospitality & leisure, but just as important are good people skills.
If you’ve got great communication skills and are happy to go the extra mile to provide customers with excellent service then hospitality & leisure could be the industry for you. Regardless of the level of qualification you start your career with, there should be opportunities for you to progress and develop your skills.
What kind of organisations can I typically work for?
Hotel managers are responsible for ensuring all aspects of the hotel - from staffing to accounts to suppliers - are kept in order. Large hotel groups will usually employ specialist staff for areas such as finance, marketing and human resources so, if you have general experience in these areas, a career in hospitality can be an option.
For the more typical hotel roles, you could start by applying for a job at a local hotel. An apprenticeship in leisure, travel and tourism or an HND, NVQ or degree in hospitality management or leisure and tourism are also good ways into the hotel industry, particularly when they involve practical work experience placements.
Many large hotel chains have their own dedicated graduate training schemes and might also fund you to study additional qualifications like postgraduate diplomas.
Responsibilities for restaurant managers include planning shifts, overseeing standards of food, implementing health and safety procedures and maintaining good service. As with hotels, large restaurant chains are more likely to recruit staff into specialised roles.
Some restaurant managers start as waiting or kitchen staff while others join after their A levels. Some of the larger restaurant groups have structured training programmes that you can enter at different levels. These typically offer career progression from waiting roles to shift manager and assistant manager positions. If you want to join a management training scheme, you may need further or higher education qualifications in a relevant subject.
Bars, clubs and pubs
It helps if you like late nights, but you don’t have to be completely nocturnal for a successful career in bars and clubs. During the daytime managers could be managing the accounts, dealing with suppliers, purchasing stock or recruiting and training staff. You could start with an entry-level job serving customers and progress from there to a managerial role. Alternatively you could study for a relevant degree and join a graduate scheme.
Health & Leisure centres
As well as good physical fitness, an apprenticeship in sports coaching or a degree in sports science would be perfect training for a leisure centre role. If you want to study leisure and recreation management as an NVQ or up to degree level, you’ll need a good head for figures as the courses cover resourcing, management and accounts. It’s not all about the maths though: many courses also offer practical work experience placements.
Don’t forget the growing number of indoor trampoline parks, football centres and climbing walls that can be found across the UK. These all require Managers and can be a great choice for someone with a passion for those activities.
Whilst the bonus of free cinema tickets might tempt you to consider a Cinema manager role, Cinema managers have to work very hard to make sure that their cinema is run in an efficient and cost-effective manner. A cinema manger is responsible for every aspect of the business - from team management and HR to advertising, sales and budget control. It’s also their responsibility to make sure that every customer comes away from the cinema having had a great experience.
A qualification in management, marketing or film studies may be advantageous for securing the role of cinema manager. However, one “qualification” you will need to have is a real passion for film.
The General Manager of a casino needs to be on top of things like scheduling and payroll and needs to make sure the money coming into the casino exceeds what's going out. Again the manager will be responsible for ensuring that customers are satisfied with the way they are treated. Familiarity with the principles of accounting and human resources is advisable and a marketing or hospitality degree would also be helpful.
The General Manager of a Visitor attraction is responsible for the planning and finances of the attraction as well as the health and safety of staff and visitors. Attractions include theme parks, zoos, heritage sites, national institutions and landmarks. The skills that a prospective employer will be looking for are:
- leadership and management skills
- organisational and time management skills
- communication and customer care skills
- the ability to build good working relationships with partners
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of organisations to consider if you’re thinking about a career in hospitality & leisure. Whilst formal qualifications will go some way toward securing your first step on the hospitality & leisure career ladder, a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the area you want to work in e.g, cinema, health & fitness will also stand you in good stead.
C2 Recruitment is celebrating 10 years success in Retail Recruitment this year. C2 specialises in retail, hospitality and leisure recruitment and all of our consultants have sector specific backgrounds. If you contact C2 today you’ll be assigned a consultant with direct experience in your sector – someone who really has walked in your shoes!