Career Opportunities in the Hospitality Sector

By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca

One third of hotel manpower is composed of Filipinos. We are the most preferred workers all over the world because we can communicate in English, we are friendly and caring, and we are hard working. – Angie Blanco, Dean of the Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA) in Antipolo. She is a former training director for a five-star hotel in Dubai and has 20 years of experience in the hotel industry and the academe.

The hospitality industry has grown rapidly in recent years as more tourists visit the Philippines and more workers become needed to fill in positions related to this sector.  Here, Blanco, a Board Director of the Association of Human Resource Managers (AHRM ), sheds light on frequently asked questions by people who want to have a career in the hospitality sector.

  1. What kinds of businesses fall under the hospitality industry?

    The hospitality sector is composed of establishments that have to do with serving guests. These include hotels, restaurants, accommodations, entertainment, gaming, malls, theaters, and transportation.

  2. What career opportunities are available from each sector?

    Graduates of HRM courses can apply to jobs in different sectors which, specifically, are in:

    • Kitchens – Basically, employees start at the bottom by being cook assistants or commis. They can go up the ladder from Commis 3, Commis 2, and Commis 1 before being Chef de Partie. Next level is the Sous Chef and the highest would be the Executive Chef. Hotels, airlines, cruise liners, etc. have kitchens. So just imagine how many kitchens there are here and abroad. That’s how much the opportunities are but it is up to an individual what job he/she wants to pursue.
    • Restaurants – The food and beverage departments need waiters/waitresses, dining room supervisors, restaurant managers, baristas, and bartenders.
    • Front Office Department – This is comprised of front office receptionists, reservations staff, bell men, telephone operators, and concierges.
    • Housekeeping – The room attendants are tasked to clean guest rooms while public area attendants clean other parts of an establishment.
    • Transportation (airlines, cruise liners, land vehicles) needs flight attendants, ground crew members, and tour guides among others.
  3. What should aspiring HRM students look for in a school?

    Go for institutions that have a corporate backup which can fill internship requirements. For instance, ASHA owns 15 restaurants, 3 hotels, and 3 event places where they refer their students for OJT and employment. ASHA also has tie ups with all 5-star and 4-star hotels in Makati, Manila, and Ortigas.

    There are schools where some on-the-job-trainees (depending on the sector) get paid at most 75% of the minimum wage. As an example, ASHA students enjoy apprenticeship with pay at P300 per day. After a student’s OJT and graduation, the most important part is job placement so make sure that your school can also provide you with that.

  4. Please share the average salary brackets of employees in the hospitality sector.

    • Rank and file employees usually receive the minimum wage (P426/day) plus tips and free meals. On top of that, they are given part of the service charges (SCs) the establishment earned for the month divided equally among the employees. SCs usually amount to around P1,000 to P2,000 a month in restaurants and around P6,000 to P10,000 monthly in 5-star hotels.
    • Hotel and restaurant supervisors are paid basic salaries ranging from P15,000 to P25,000 a month plus service charges.
    • Managers receive P20,000 to P30,000 + SC (e.g. outlet stores), P40,000 to P60,000 + SC (HR and purchasing managers), and P80,000 to P150,000 + SC (top of the line managers like GMs)
    • Transportation employees like airline workers earn around P20,000 to P30,000 monthly while cruise liner employees can earn from P30,000 and up. Employee benefits include free trainings and free trips around the world for airlines and cruise liners.
  5. Which are the most popular employers in the field of hospitality?

    Many students say their dream job is to work in a cruise ship but, generally, a career in hospitality offers opportunities to earn a good living. There are perks that employees get for free and the salaries are very competitive with other industries.

  6. What are the educational qualifications required for securing positions in the hospitality industry?

    Students can take courses such as BS Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM), Certificate in Hotel and Restaurant Operation with Culinary, and/or a Diploma in Hospitality Management. An optional course is the Certificate in Management Accounting (CIMA) where anyone, even without any accounting background, can learn to sharpen their decision making skills based on given facts so that they can manage businesses better. This can be an add-on for managers because they get to be equipped with skills that make their jobs easier.

    Cruise liners, however, require applicants to have at least one year job experience locally before trying their luck abroad. This is why practicum and internship is very important.

  7. What can you advice students and new graduates so they could land good jobs?

    • Dress to impress on job interviews. Pay attention to your grooming, makeup, and clothes.
    • Improve/practice your communication skills. Knowing how to speak English is essential especially when communicating with foreigners.
    • Adopt the right attitude. Unless you’re the son/daughter of a business owner, don’t be choosy with jobs when you are just starting. Begin at the rank and file level and work your way up. Show your skills and maintain good performance. Keep in mind that most employers’ motto is: “We hire for attitude, we train for aptitude.” Without a good attitude from the start, you will not go far.
    • Work hard as an OJT. You are already being screened while you are doing your practicum so make sure you do well and you are likely to get a job offer right after graduation.
    • Be certified for skills you need on the job. Aside from a college diploma, there are employers who look for proofs of training in a particular skill. Consider enrolling in short courses, get assessed, and earn those certificates.

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