You’ve heard the term ‘hospitality’, but do you know what it means?
Going super formal for a moment, the word “hospitality” literally refers to the relationship between a guest and a host.
That basic description covers a lot of potential careers, from managing a restaurant or hotel, to organising conferences and overseeing catering arrangements – maybe even preparing the food yourself.
Hospitality is all about service, so if you’re a friendly and welcoming type who loves dealing with lots of different people, then that’s a great starting point for a career in the industry. But that’s not all – you’re going to need a range of other skills, experience, and qualifications, to make the best possible entrance.
Exactly what you’ll need will depend heavily on the type of job you’re looking for. And as has already been established, there are quite a few to choose from!
So, let’s narrow the playing field down a little, and shine the spotlight on some example hospitality jobs.
(You can find even more examples by downloading our Debut App… just saying).
While you don’t necessarily need a degree to become a hotel manager, being in possession of one means you’ll be able to join a dedicated management scheme for a larger chain (read: faster career progression).
Your job as a hotel manager will cover all those crucial tasks that keep your hotel running smoothly every day… so, things like business planning, admin, budget control, and of course, excellent customer service.
You’ll also be responsible for managing a team, of course, so it almost goes without saying that you’ll need to be confident and easy to get on with! Bear in mind, too, that most hotels operate on a 24-7 basis… so if you’re after a traditional 9 – 5:30 type of job, this won’t be the career for you.
Salary-wise much depends on where you choose to display your hotel managing talents. For example, think about managing your local hotel, then think about somewhere like The Ritz… there are obviously going to be some differences in salary!
But on average, you can expect to start out in a range of £20,000 to £40,000 per year… with higher earning potential in London.
(Download our Debut App to find the latest hotel management opportunities for graduates. Go on, you know you want to!)
Love all the pleasures of food, but don’t fancy cooking it yourself? Catering management might be the way to go, instead.
Again, a degree will see you able to join a graduate scheme for a larger organisation, and your job will involve planning, organising and developing food and drink for customers.
You’ll have to meet their expectations, but you’ll also have to adhere to rigorous hygiene standards and tough financial targets (this job is definitely not just about making tempting lists of different foods!)
Experience is vital – even casual work as a barista will give you some insight into the catering industry, and how you personally like to work. If you’re a lone wolf who prefers to do everything yourself, you might prefer working for a smaller company that lets you run the day-to-day operations on your own.
Otherwise, joining a larger team means you’ll have help handling different catering functions – and you could find that instead of working in a busy kitchen, you’re carrying out planning activities in an office.
Career-wise, there’s a lot of potential. Catering (or food and beverage) managers are needed everywhere from hotel chains and cruise ships to prisons, factories and holiday parks!
Eventually, you could rise to the position of Head of Catering, with a salary that could hit six figures. Until then, expect to earn between £22,000 and £45,000 as a Catering Manager.
(Want to browse the latest catering management opportunities for graduates? Just download our Debut App, and you’re away!)
There aren’t many careers that work to such a clear hierarchy, with lots of different roles like sous chef, chef de partie, and head chef (which you’ll understand if you’ve ever watched MasterChef!)
Even with your degree, it’s likely that your career will start right at the bottom, as you get to grips with specific cooking techniques like knife skills, work in different sections of the kitchen, and learn regulations like health and safety, and food hygiene.
You’ll have to be a good listener and be someone who responds well to instructions in very hectic environments (rebels need not apply!)
Hours are long, and the work will be hard. But you’ll also be working as part of a close-knit team, so if you thrive on the buzz that comes with collaboration in a fast-paced atmosphere… this could be the career for you.
The restaurant industry is fast-growing, but you can work as a chef in lots of other locations, including the Armed Forces!
You could even go it alone as a contract caterer further down the line, or become an Executive Chef, who takes charge of menu planning, overseeing the catering budget, and liaising with suppliers.
Salary-wise, you can expect to start relatively low, at a range from £12,000 to £16,000. However, there’s a lot of growth potential… and lots of Michelin-starred restaurants to work your way up to!
(Download our Debut App to browse chef jobs for graduates).
Conference Centre Manager
Consider your conference centre as the ‘stage’ on which everything happens!
You’ll work closely with people like events managers (more on those later…) to help your clients’ events run smoothly.
Fast thinking, strong customer service and problem-solving skills are a given – bonus points if you can speak more than one language – and you’ll need a good head for finance. Why? This role also involves ensuring your conference centre can make a profit.
A degree in hospitality, travel and tourism could see you jumping to the head of the queue in terms of both applications and salary (also depending on your experience). An assistant manager could start on around £20,000, while senior-level salaries could rise to £60,000.
(Download our Debut App to find the best conference centre management roles for graduates).
If you can juggle lots of different tasks and still keep everybody happy, events management could be your dream career!
A relevant degree is a great starting point, but if you can get some hands-on experience, helping to organise different events, that will be highly prized. You’ll need to project-manage and negotiate, and you’ll also have to have a meticulous eye for the little details.
The types of events you’ll manage could range from corporate conferences and art exhibitions to overseas incentive trips, weddings, and special birthday parties. You’ll be responsible for planning and organising everything, so working as part of a team is a must – no-one can plan big-deal events all by themselves!
(Well, not successful ones at least…)
This is the type of role that tends to attract commission, so your salary could be more of a starting point. If you’re just starting out, you can expect a base salary of around £20,000, while more experienced events managers could earn up to £45,000.
(Make an event of downloading our Debut App, to find the latest management opportunities for graduates!)
Different from a Catering Manager (they’re in charge of the food), you’ll be ensuring that the everyday running of your restaurant is efficient, profitable and that it maintains its good reputation.
So, you’ll need a great head for business, AND good creative skills.
But that’s not it. You’ll be in charge of the restaurant staff, and you’re also that person customers ask for when they want to “speak to the manager” … which means diplomacy has to be your middle name.
(In other words, leave the fiery hot-headedness at home!)
To join a formal recruitment scheme, you’ll need a related degree – this is yet another role in which graduates get a head start. Salaries will depend on the size and type of restaurant you choose to work for… some may also offer bonus payments if you can reach certain targets.
Expect up to £40,000 in a fine dining restaurant, while casual dining could attract up to £30,000.
You’ve also got the option to become a fast-food restaurant manager, in which your degree could see you bypass the counter as part of a graduate scheme. General managers in fast food restaurants can expect to earn up to £32,000.
(Snack on the best restaurant management opportunities for graduates, by downloading our Debut App).
It could be quicker to list the things you won’t be doing as the manager of a pub… it’d be far shorter!
Not only will you be greeting customers, but you’ll also recruit and train staff, and be responsible for back office functions like stock control and finance. Patience, teamworking, and strong organisation skills will be a must.
If you haven’t got the cash to buy your own pub and do it all your way, and you haven’t got the time to start at the bottom, joining a graduate scheme will introduce you to all the different activities of the role.
You can expect to start at a salary of between £16,000 and £20,000, rising to around £35,000 for licensees. Oh, and there’s a strong chance you’ll also benefit from subsidised meals, and even free accommodation in some cases.
How Do I Find the Right Hospitality Job?
Download our free Debut App, and you can get browsing the best, most recently updated graduate jobs across the entire hospitality industry.
What else? You analyse your non-academic talents (getting ahead of the competition in the process), and play fun – and educational – games.
Any more benefits? Yes… you can avail yourself of practical, no-nonsense career advice from people who’ve trodden the beaten path before you.
There’s also a chance that you’ll be talent-spotted by an employer before you’ve even made an application.
Best of all? Not only is our Debut App completely free, there’s not a single catch or a single ad…
…so all you have to do is concentrate on starting that dream career.