CAREERS IN HOSPITALITY

OWING TO BURGEONING TOURISM AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC SHIFTS IN SOCIETY, THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HAS SEEN A SURGE OF OVER 25 PER CENT IN THE LAST...

OWING TO BURGEONING TOURISM AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC SHIFTS IN SOCIETY, THE
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HAS SEEN A SURGE OF OVER 25 PER CENT IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS. ANUSHKA PATODIA CHRONICLES THE REASONS
FOR THIS UPSWING AND PROFILES THE DIFFERENT
CAREER OPTIONS IN THIS INDUSTRY
As the economy continues to evolve and people have more disposable income in hand, the travel, tourism and hospitality sector has witnessed a phenomenal accretion. Where ten years ago, the industry was not yet fully developed, the advent of multinational hotels and the boom in Indian tourism has resulted in the emergence of a streamlined, efficient and focussed segment. The demand for professionals in the hospitality industry too is at an all-time high.
The careers in this field are manifold,ranging from high flying managers,directors and chefs to the more subdued receptionists, housekeepers and stewards. If you have the right aptitude and personality, the hospitality industry provides ample opportunities to leave your mark.
The current scenario
Going by the recent growth rate, it is anticipated that the hospitality sector will continue to grow rapidly in the country. Hence, it is not surprising to see that today, hospitality graduates have a wider range of options to choose from, when compared to a few years ago. Explains Prof Ruchita Verma, Principal, ITM Institute of Hotel Management,“The market for hospitality is growing by leaps and bounds due to shifts in society and a surge in tourism.There is a huge gap between the demand and supply of trained hospitality workforce along with the challenges of attrition which the service sector faces.This has resulted in an increased demand for trained hospitality professionals. To fulfil the growing human resource demands of the industry, numerous schools of hospitality have sprung up.” No longer limited to five-star hotels, the hotel industry includes fine dining restaurants, travel agencies, luxury resorts, high-end casinos, sports venues, cruise lines, health spas, theme parks, etc. Points out Tanmay Arurkar, a chef management graduate, working with the Taj group of hotels,“The industry holds great promise since it draws a large amount of money and talent. Jobs in the hospitality industry are lucrative wherein professionals get to meet high profile guests and attend to them.This makes it attractive for many people and also improves their confidence and grooming style.”According to Rattan Keswani, Executive Vice President, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, the growth of a number of hotels in various categories is responsible for the upswing in the hospitality industry.
Also, employers around the world are looking towards qualified graduates who are expected to possess a superior level of training over a person who does not have a specialised hospitality degree. Keeping this in mind, a number of institutes in India are offering specific courses in hospitality, with the result that a prospective student need no longer look towards an international education as a stepping-stone to a career in the hospitality industry.

Getting in

A class 12 pass grade in science,
commerce or arts is sufficient to make one eligible to a hospitality course. However, most schools require students to perform satisfactorily at the entrance exam, whether it is the all-India entrance exam or a separate examination conducted by a private institute. At the all-India exam, students have to prove their proficiency in subjects such as English, general knowledge, reasoning and logical deduction, numerical ability and scientific aptitude. Besides this, questions are also asked on the service sector. Ranks are allotted to students and admissions are given.There are 4000 seats available all over the country, and most states have an institute that is affiliated to the national exam.The advertisements for the centralised admissions are published in leading newspapers in the months of January and February and the exam is generally scheduled for April.
Private institutes that conduct separate examinations have their own set of subjects and grading criteria to judge the students they take in. In certain cases, group discussions or personal interviews are also conducted. Explains Prof Ruchita,“The hospitality industry is all about ‘handling people’. No matter how clich├ęd it sounds, it is about pampering people and making them feel at home. Qualifications add operational value and make you aware of the processes.”Besides, many institutes offer campus placements to top- level companies such as the Taj group of hotels, ITC, Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut, etc, making the recruitment process simpler for students.

Career options

The hospitality field offers a wide range of career options in hotels, restaurants,
resorts, spas, ships, airlines, clubs and any other place where people go to relax. Says A D Bagul, UDC at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition,“In a basic hospitality course, one can specialise in either of four options, ie food production, front office, food and beverage service, and housekeeping. Besides these, as one moves up the hierarchy, one can also become a manager, administrator or vice president of either of the four options.” (a) Food production: This involves working in the kitchen of the organisation. Job options include that of a chef, sous chef, commis and chef de cuisine. One could also establish positions such as an F&B manager. (b) Front office: The front office involves welcoming guests and attending to their problems and concerns.This includes jobs of a receptionist, lobby manager, cashier, captain, travel desk manager, and so on. One can move up to managerial positions including a duty manager, guest relations executive, customer care executive, etc (c) Food and beverage service: This involves service of any kind of food or beverages to the customer.Typical jobs are those of a steward, butler, bartender, or host/ hostess. Managerial jobs include the head, vice president or general manager of food and beverage.
(d) Housekeeping: It involves taking care of the requirements of guests in their rooms. Housekeeping includes two positions — the housekeeping executive/ assistant and housekeeping manager.The assistant is in charge of manually doing the work, while the manager is responsible for supervision.

The right personality

Says Prof Ruchita,“You need to be a people’s person and strive to make your customer feel at ease.You must have a pleasing personality and gifted communication skills.”Since the industry is all about providing service to customers and making them feel spoilt and at home, one needs to have dedication, tolerance as well as the ability to work flexible hours. According to Keswani,“The right attitude and listening skills contribute a great deal towards one’s success.”Also, the person must have an avid interest in travel, tourism, and entertainment.

Foreign education- a better option?

For many people, the study of hospitality management is synonymous with a fancy school in Switzerland. However, over the years, India and other countries have proved to be equally good options. Affirms Keswani,“We do not particularly prefer to hire students with a foreign degree. Ultimately, it boils down to the content taught and the candidate’s ability to learn, not the location of the school.”
Elucidates Prof Ruchita,“Although Swiss schools are very skill-focussed, a Swiss diploma may have a slightly limited acceptability across the globe for continual education. Also, the skills imparted by Swiss schools are similar to those taught in Indian institutes. However, Swiss schools do not impart research, which adds more value to your professional life and helps you analyse and synthesise information to make better decisions.”
Conversely, Arurkar believes that employers do give preference to students having an international degree.“However, unfortunately for them, most students who go abroad do not return to work in India, which leaves employers with no choice but to hire candidates with degrees from Indian institutes,”he explains. Agrees Prathamesh Kakirde, a hospitality graduate, who has worked with hotels such as the Taj President and Hotel Intercontinental,“In my experience, I have found that employers prefer students with international degrees. This does not mean that an Indian
degree isn’t good.The Indian education system has evolved to provide quality education at reasonable rates, leading to the inception of a number of good hospitality institutes in the country.”

Remuneration

The salaries offered differ by virtue of the individual’s personality and the institute from where they complete their education.The bigger the organisation, the fatter the pay check. Generally, fresh graduates are hired as management trainees with an average salary of Rs 7,500 to Rs 12,000 per month. As they gain experience, salaries can even go up to Rs 50,000 per month.

COURSES AND INSTITUTES (INDICATIVE LISTING)

Degree in Hospitality Studies and International Hospitality Management, ITM Institute of Hotel Management
Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Dr D Y Patil Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Nerul
BSc in Hospitality and Hotel Administration, Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Dadar
Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology, B V Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Navi Mumbai
BBA in Hotel and Tourism Management/ MBA in Hospitality Management, Kohinoor- IMI School of Hospitality Management, Khandala

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