Whether you prefer a customer-facing role or working behind the scenes, there is a variety of job opportunities with a career in hospitality, from working in a kitchen or hotel, through to hosting weddings and conferences.
Take a look at the reasons why people work in hospitality, the careers available, as well as the skills and qualifications needed for a hospitality career.
- Why work in hospitality?
- What careers are available in hospitality?
- What skills are needed to work in hospitality?
- What degrees help with a career in hospitality?
Why work in hospitality?
Meet lots of people
Would you describe yourself as a people person? In comparison to other sectors, there is more opportunity to meet and interact with people daily in hospitality. Working in a restaurant, hotel or bar will mean you meet and serve customers regularly. As well as interacting with customers, the hospitality sector is full of large teams, for example running an event requires lots of staff, so you will be surrounded by lots of colleagues every day.
Get a job anywhere
The skills that you pick up from a career in hospitality are useful around the world. You’ll gain practical skills, such as being able to wait tables, take cash and card payments, and make food and drinks, as well as soft skills, like customer service and communication, punctuality, and being able to work well under pressure. All of these combined can put you in a good position to work anywhere in the world, as most countries have a hospitality industry.
There are many reasons why a more typical Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job may not be suitable for you. Whether you are a student, have care responsibilities or are simply more suited to a shift-based working pattern, there are many hospitality jobs that allow you to work early mornings, evenings, or on the weekend.
What careers are available in hospitality?
The most common jobs in hospitality include:
Bar and wait staff
These roles involve serving customers, including taking orders and putting them through the till, handling payments and bringing customers their food and drink. Typical job titles are bartender, waiter or waitress.
Front of house
Front of house staff welcome people as they arrive and thank them for visiting when they leave. You could work front of house at a hotel, dealing with check ins and check outs, as well as customer queries. You could work in a restaurant or bar, leading people to their table and making sure they are well-catered for during their visit.
Kitchens require multiple staff members to run efficiently. There are more experienced chef roles, such as head chef or sous (deputy) chef, through to commis (junior) chef. Kitchen porters help with basic food preparation, such as peeling vegetables, and some cleaning duties. Dishwashers are responsible for washing anything that was used in the process of making the food.
There are a range of hotel jobs available:
- Hotel managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of a hotel.
- Hotel porters welcome guests, help them with their luggage and answer any questions.
- Room attendants and cleaning staff ensure rooms are clean, tidy and welcoming for guests.
There are also positions for front of house, kitchen, bar and wait staff available at hotels.
Our careers in events article explores the positions available in the events industry.
Hospitality managers have overall responsibility for how a venue is run. You could manage a bar, restaurant, hotel, or a larger venue, such as a conference centre.
Duties for this type of job include:
- Analysing business performance – making sure the business is performing well and making changes where needed to ensure profitability.
- Marketing activities – campaigns to attract new customers.
- Budget responsibilities – strategic decisions, such as setting budgets and achieving sales targets, as well as day-to-day tasks, like ensuring staff are paid.
- Managing staff – organising shifts and hiring new staff.
- Stock control – working with suppliers.
- Compliance – ensuring that the venue complies with licensing laws, health and safety protocols, and food hygiene regulations.
Discover more careers in management.
What skills are needed to work in hospitality?
Although there are a range of different jobs available in hospitality that require specialist skills and knowledge, there are a few skills that will benefit you in any hospitality career:
- Customer service and good communication – a positive and friendly manner when dealing with customers.
- Flexibility and adaptability – no two days are the same in hospitality, so you will need to be able to adapt to new situations quickly.
- Attention to detail – making sure a hotel room is spotless, presenting someone’s food nicely on a plate, and asking if restaurant guests would like some water for the table are all small details that go a long way.
- Punctuality and timekeeping – turning up on time and serving guests in a timely manner.
- Ability to work well under pressure – working in a bar, kitchen or restaurant on a Saturday night can be hectic, so you need to keep calm and work efficiently and effectively.
If you are interested in a specific field or job role within hospitality, it’s a good idea to find adverts for those roles and look at the job description and person specification. Here you can identify the skills and experience you already have and where you need to improve in order to meet the essential criteria for the role.
Take a look at the graduate skills that employers are looking for.
What degrees help with a career in hospitality?
If you are interested in attending university, a degree is a great way to take a step further towards a career in hospitality. Degrees related to hospitality include:
- Hospitality management
- Tourism management
- Events management
- Culinary arts
- Food science and technology
- Food and nutrition
You could also study a combined degree in these subjects, for example a degree in hospitality, leisure and tourism, or tourism and events, would put you in a good position to land a job in hospitality after graduation.
While getting a degree would allow you to go into a hospitality role at management level, there are still options to get into the industry if university isn’t the right path for you.
There are lots of apprenticeships available to work in hospitality, as many employers see value in the practical skills learnt during an apprenticeship. You could also secure a junior role in hospitality and work your way up through on-the-job training. For example, starting off as a dishwasher or kitchen porter and working your way up to a chef position.
Last updated on 22 March 2023Share this article