The theme of the 2014 Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) this week is of 'Reshaping the World' and the CEOs of both Hilton and Marriott claim that the travel industry is uniquely positioned to make that a reality.
Hilton pledges to 'open doors' for one million young people by 2019
Hilton Worldwide announced a global commitment that aims to impact at least one million young people by 2019 by helping them to reach their full potential. This new initiative will open doors for young people in three ways:
Connecting them to the world of travel by enabling them to experience new cultures, contributing to the improvement of the sustainability of the industry and shaping their future with opportunities in Hilton Worldwide's expansive supply chain;
Preparing them for success in the world of work, travel and beyond by supporting their basic needs and developing their life and professional skills with mentorships, apprenticeships and Hilton Worldwide's career awareness program, Careers@HiltonLive; and
Employing them across all divisions of the business across more than 4,000 owned, managed and franchised hotels worldwide.
"We have been opening our doors to millions of guests for nearly a century. This pledge is a natural extension of our promise to create meaningful opportunities for the next generation of Team Members, guests and business partners," said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide.
Research shows that many young people face a grim socioeconomic reality. More than 74 million worldwide are unemployed and nearly 290 million - more than a quarter of our planet's young people - are neither working nor studying.
Travel and tourism is the world's single largest employer, accounting for almost 10 percent of global employment, and it is expected to generate 73 million new jobs by 2022. But simply creating more jobs will not be enough to address the issue if young people are not equipped with the range of skills needed to succeed in today's complex marketplace.
Hilton Worldwide will focus the majority of its corporate responsibility efforts on programs and partners that connect, prepare and employ young people around the world. From supporting young entrepreneurs by connecting them to training, certification and markets to preparing the next generation of hospitality leaders, Hilton Worldwide will work with a range of global and local partners to help one million young people over the next five years.
Last year, Hilton Worldwide issued an industry-wide call to action in collaboration with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to help prevent a "lost generation" by building awareness and creating opportunities for young people in the hospitality industry. Changing perceptions of career opportunities in the travel and tourism industry is a key priority for Hilton Worldwide and the sector. A recent report by the World Travel & Tourism Council shows that lack of information, misjudgment and preconception are some of the biggest barriers preventing young people from connecting to careers in the industry. This, coupled with a talent gap, especially in the area of life and soft skills often make it challenging for the hospitality industry to find the right candidates to meet its needs.
"The talent gap is one of the most important issues facing businesses, governments and communities today, and it is a direct contributor to the youth unemployment rate," continued Nassetta. "As one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, we are in a unique position to leverage our size, scale and expertise to close the gap and address this critical issue in a meaningful way. The success of our business depends on the success of the next generation."
Marriott sees opportunities
Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International and Chairman of the WEF Governors of Aviation, Travel and Tourism in Davos said, "Leaders increasingly see that travel is trade and enabling greater mobility creates jobs, opportunity, and economic prosperity at home. We have a tremendous chance to energize the global economy by working together to help implement smart travel policies. These policies, including smart visas and smart airports encourage easier travel throughout the world and increase the need for jobs."
Sorenson is participating in a panel on Reshaping the World of Work." Some of his key points are:
1 in 11 jobs globally (260 million) are supported by travel and tourism (UNWTO and WTTC).
In the next ten years the sector will account for 10 percent of global GDP.
Addressing youth unemployment, Marriott supports programs that help train and employ thousands of disadvantaged youth in 75 percent of the 74 countries in which the company operates hotels.
In the U.S., through a partnership with the Marriott Foundation for People With Disabilities...Bridges from School to Work, Marriott will have placed the 20,000 youth in mainstream employment by year end.
Outside the U.S., Marriott is engaged with several programs including the Youth Career Initiative and World of Opportunity Europe which combined has helped to train and employ nearly 1,000 students in Asia, Europe, Caribbean & Latin America and Middle East & Africa.