Address a Global Issue, Build Your Future Workforce

A new white paper says the hospitality industry can reduce the youth joblessness rate and create its next generation of employees and leaders at the same time.

Associations don’t just worry about the employees, members, or board they currently have; they also spend time thinking about who’s next. Same goes for the meetings and hospitality industry, where experts predict tremendous growth and job creation in the upcoming years. To address future hiring needs and prepare for its next-generation workforce, at this week’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013, Hilton Worldwide announced a white paper from the International Youth Foundation (IYF) that focuses on youth joblessness and how the growing global hospitality industry can help reduce it.

Called “Creating Opportunities for Youth in Hospitality,” it says there are currently 75 million unemployed youth worldwide. However, according to the white paper, the hospitality industry, given its predicted growth, can influence youth employment solutions globally.

“More than 255 million people around the globe currently work in the [hospitality] sector, and by 2022, travel and tourism will employ 328 million people—creating 73 million new jobs,” says the white paper. “ … As the number of jobs in the industry increases and as older employees retire, attracting young people who possess the technical skills, life skills, and passion to provide exceptional guest service will prove more important than ever.”

Attracting young people who possess the technical skills, life skills, and passion to provide exceptional guest service will prove more important than ever.

And this growth is not only good for hotels and restaurants but also for the variety of businesses in the hospitality supply chain. According to the International Labor Organization, every new job created in the hospitality industry supports 1.5 jobs along the supply chain.

So what can the hospitality industry do to ensure they attract, employ, and retain these youth workers? Well, it’s very similar to what associations often do to attract new board or committee members—or even new employees.

The white paper suggests these initiatives, among others: establish job-shadowing and internship programs, teach young people about the job market, offer training opportunities, educate them about the lasting value of gaining experience in the industry, and partner with schools and training institutions.

To help with these initiatives, Hilton Hotels & Resorts launched Bright Blue Futures, a global program that will provide young people with education, life-skills development, workforce training, and employment.

One example of the program is taking place at two Hilton properties in Munich. Human resources managers and other staff members are hosting three-hour trainings for young people on how to complete a job application, write a resume, and interview effectively. And at the Hilton Columbus at Easton in Ohio middle schoolers can job shadow for the day, rotating through various departments and performing basic duties, allowing them to get hands-on experience and perhaps gain an interest in a hospitality career.

“Our company has the unique resources, expertise, and career pathways to assist the needs of young people,” said Rob Palleschi, global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts in an article posted on

Do you know of other examples of the hospitality and meetings industry helping to address a global issue or develop the next-generation workforce? Please share in the comments.

(Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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