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Are degrees really necessary for a management role in hospitality?

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It’s clear that good leadership is a crucial factor for an organisation’s success. In Singapore, employers typically view a degree as one of the basic requirements for a candidate to be considered for a management role.

However, being a good leader is highly reliant on soft skills such as communication, empathy – especially in the hospitality industry where employees are often dubbed the greatest asset of the company.

At the International Recruitment Forum hosted by the Swiss Education Group earlier this month, Emanuel Donhauser, chief academic officer, Swiss Education Group, told Human Resources that when looking at having a management career in hospitality, the dilemma faced is that a degree isn’t necessary for an individual to be a great manager.

However with the hospitality industry shifting from being family-run industry to a more corporate industry and recruiting the way any other corporate organisation would –  with a bachelor’s degree being a minimum requirement for getting into a management position.

As such, Donhauser noted that the value of the degree shouldn’t be placed on the degree itself, rather the focus should be on the real world training received while obtaining the degree.

“The employers attending the International Recruitment Forum are here because they know that hotel schools in Switzerland train and teach students to become graduates who have a clear focus, a clear strategy, a career path in their mind, but also have learnt how to put it in practice,” he said.

“Out of the three years of study, students at our school have to work full time in actual industry jobs for a year. That is what the industry loves about our graduates – they are hardworking, they are humble, smart, and they know how to implement their strategies,” Donhauser added.

Noting that some employers present at the International Recruitment Forum aren’t from the traditional hospitality industry, Florent Rondez, CEO, Swiss Education Group, said: “The thing employers are looking for here is the soft skills. They’re looking for hard working people with passion, and the ability to deal with complaints and different cultures.”

“The more we go digital the more difficult these skills are to obtain. However, hospitality schools are unique in the way that they train you to be able to deal with people of different cultures,” he said.

ALSO READ: 2 in 3 GenZ employees expect a 9-14% pay increase every year

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