Still hiring: hotels reassure hospitality students

Still opportunities in the Middle East, hotels assure graduates

Despite widespread reports of redundancies and recruitment freezes, it seems that the outlook is not entirely bleak for hospitality school graduates seeking jobs in the Middle East.

Many hotel groups are in fact still recruiting, as specialised recruitment website Hozpitality.com director Raj Bhatt pointed out.

“Of course many openings have been delayed in Dubai, but they are still happening across the emirate and the whole UAE — recruitment is still happening,” he insisted. “We have 363 jobs featured on our site right now.”

JAL Fujairah Resort and Spa director of HR Espie Alvez said that although the property “did implement a recruitment freeze when the downturn first hit”, things had picked up since then.

“Now at the weekends we’re operating at 100% occupancy — for the past few weeks at least, and we’re expecting it to continue that way. We need to hire more people to cope with the numbers,” she explained.

Despite the global economic downturn, various hotel groups are continuing with their development pipelines across the region and are consequently recruiting for their new properties.

The Palace The Old Town director of HR Tanya Meah commented: “We are recruiting for management trainees and some full-time roles…mainly for our new opening in Dubai Marina.

“We are growing and expanding and we need people, so we have been working closely with Jumeirah to take on some of the staff they have had to re-deploy, as well as Fairmont.

“One of the things we’re really focusing on at Emaar Hospitality is Emiratisation, so we’re really keen to recruit talented young nationals,” she added.

Another company currently sourcing staff for internships and new properties is Jumeirah Group.

Speaking at Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management’s inaugural career day, the group’s director of learning and development — special projects Alan Simpson explained: “We’re looking for students for our internships at the moment; we have new openings coming up so we like them to use the internships as an opportunity for them to learn about what we are and what we do as a group.

“We source interns on their talent, so I can’t put a number on how many we’ll take on this year — it depends on how many students we feel we’d like to offer a place,” he added.

Simpson said the most popular field for students to enter was sales and marketing.

“A lot of students don’t like to do jobs where there are long, unsociable hours [such as in the F&B roles], but really that’s how you learn about the workings of a property, so it’s important they are not overlooked,” he commented.

The lack of students looking to enter the kitchen has also been noticed at recruitment and consultancy firm The Hospitality Company.

“One person that hospitality groups are always looking for is a chef, mainly because of the hours,” said senior recruitment consultant Sam Bishop.

“There is still a lack of qualified chefs here. Many students going into hospitality today have different views [from past generations]; they don’t want to put in the hours in the kitchen when they could progress in a different field of hospitality with less anti-social working hours.”

REDUNDANCIES POLL:

Hotel groups sound positive, but what do your experiences say about the market?
HotelierMiddleEast.com asks:

How many employees has your company or organisation laid off since the beginning of 2009?

a) None  —  25.93%

b) 1-10  —  7.41%

c) 11-25  —  18.52%

d) 26-50  —  0%

e) 50-100  —  33.33%

f) 100+  —  14.81%

SOURCE: HotelierMiddleEast.com, March 2009 

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