Customer service and management and leadership skills will play a significant role in the future of the hospitality and tourism sector, People 1st’s 2013 State of the Nation report has revealed.
More than 2,000 employers from across the hospitality and tourism industry were surveyed for the report, which aims to analyse current labour market trends, skills, and education and training needs.
Employers showed a general optimism about the future, with 88 per cent believing customer service skills would grow in importance in the next three to five years.
Fifty-eight per cent of employers believed that sustainability issues need addressing, while 69 per cent opined that management and leadership skills will have a significant influence on the sector over the coming years.
“Our employers are already saying that many of their staff lack the necessary customer service and management and leadership skills, so as the need for these particular skills grows, the situation could definitely get a lot worse,” said Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st.
“A lot of effort has gone into attracting people into the industry, but this shows that what we really need to do is place much more emphasis on making sure that the staff we already have in the industry are retained and given the training they need.
“As the economy picks up and we face recruitment competition from other industries, ensuring our staff have the right skills is going to be hugely important.”
The 2013 State of the Nation report also shows that staff turnover rates have fallen 11 per cent in the past three years.
In addition to retaining staff, research showed that providing the right training and development opportunities for individuals is imperative.
Wisdom continued: “Our research found that only 41 per cent of organisations offered training in the past 12 months, which means that there are a lot of people missing out.
“Of those that do offer training, most money is directed toward elementary occupations, which is carried out at the most basic level, and much of this is because of the high turnover rates we’re experiencing. It has become a vicious cycle that we need to stop.
“If only 36 per cent of organisations provide training directed at addressing individual needs, we are not doing enough to develop the skills we need – either now or in the future.”