People are at the heart of hospitality and tourism. And the very nature of this industry means that generally it is young people at the frontline of any hospitality business.
One of the biggest challenges facing hospitality businesses across the UK (and, in fact, across the globe) is that today’s young people have a different value set from previous generations. Their world views and expectations are evolving. This poses a significant challenge for those responsible for the recruitment of young people.
Says Big Hospitality Conversation Director James Latham: “Since the Big Conversation’s conception almost two years ago we’ve noticed a real shift in how the young people approach the events. It’s as much about employers impressing them as it is visa versa and in some cases the young people are educating employers about technology trends and innovations. It seems to me that the old order is shifting and new rules are coming into play in the world of work in the hospitality sector.”
Says Graeme Codrington, expert of the new world of work: “If we think about today’s young people and their aspirations and ideals, it becomes really clear that their value set is radically different from ours. The hospitality employers I’ve spoken to want to understand why this change has happened and how to tackle it. Has technology created it, or is it cultural. Is this just something to just ‘sit out’ before everything goes back to normal or have things changed forever?”
Graeme’s view is clear and he believes that today’s young people are shaped by a different world. “We are in the midst of what I call ‘a moment of change.’ We now find ourselves in the transition between the ‘before’ and ‘after’. A twilight era where yesterday’s value sets are morphing and evolving into new territory. Today’s generation of young people is the first to work in the ‘after’ world which has been shaped by a plethora of contributory factors.”
In his opinion, the implications of this ‘after’ world and their impact on the workplace need to be understood, and the BHA’s James Latham doesn’t disagree: “Hospitality and tourism has so much to offer young people starting out in the world of work and there are multiple opportunities for hard working and positive apprentices, and those seeking work placements and first jobs. I think the biggest challenge for all of us is understanding young people and getting under the skin of what makes them tick. It seems to me that while we’ve been working hard there has been a silent revolution going on and we, as an industry, need to join the revolution and help to shape the outcome.”
Graeme Codrington’s is a keynote speaker at the Hospitality & Tourism Summit 2014 on Thursday 5th June, Novotel London West.
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