Eminent HR specialist and hospitality management expert Professor Joo-Seng Tan* has called on the region's hospitality and travel industry to increase its efforts if the sector is to become recognised as a top level career path alternative for emerging college graduates.
Associate Professor of Management at Nanyang Technological University's Nanyang Business School in Singapore, Professor Tan comments came while addressing a TMS Asia-Pacific forum convened to discuss key issues affecting the industry.
These issues included graduate recruitment, motivating new generation hospitality employees, career progression program development and the impact salary and career now play as evidenced by the recruitment specialist's recently released 2008 Asia travel industry salary survey.
It was time, Professor Tan said, for the industry's creative hospitality HR professionals to begin developing the innovative strategies required to first capture and then keep high quality workers.
"Companies also need to develop internal programs in order to create attractive career paths so that potential candidates will see employment as a professional development opportunity with real potential for advancement," he said.
"Recruiting for entry level positions is easier when the recruiter can outline a career path and can point to managers who have worked their way up from line positions.
"Few companies have found the right strategy for understanding and effectively managing this diversity of talent that is eager and motivated to enter the workforce.
"Understanding graduate expectations is key to ensuring effective management of this recruitment channel."
Echoing Professor Tan's comments, TMS Managing Director - Asia, Andrew Chan said the subject was extremely relevant to the sector with staff retention the single greatest threat facing the industry today.
"Our industry has struggled in recent times to maintain its competitiveness in the employment market against other industries with the capacity to offer higher wages and other benefits," he said.
"Companies offering career development programs stand a much better chance of retaining their staff, especially those employers focusing on attracting and then keeping hold of their ‘Gen' Y staffers.
"The demographic offers our industry huge potential but in order to retain Gen Y staff, employers need to keep them stimulated and motivated and the best way to do that is to give the workers lots of incentives and career-oriented objectives.
"Organisations also need to consider taking their investment into leadership and personal development and training that supports the longer-term career aspirations of both graduates and employees."
*Professor Joo-Seng TAN is an Associate Professor of Management at Nanyang Technological University's Nanyang Business School in Singapore.
He has been Program Chair for Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management's leading annual HR Roundtable since its inauguration in 2006.
The Roundtable is Asia's only annual HR meeting and brings together senior HR thought leaders from the breadth of hospitality industry).
He is also Director in the Office of Executive Education, Nanyang Business School and former Deputy Head of the Strategy, Management & Organisation Division.
TMS is a top-tier specialist travel, tourism and hospitality recruitment and HR services company with offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The company’s overseas operation includes offices in Auckland, Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore and affiliates in the UK. For more information on TMS Asia-Pacific visit: www.tmsap.com.