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The Role of Employability Skills in Gaining Initial Employment for Hospitality Management Graduates in the UK

The Role of Employability Skills in Gaining Initial Employment for Hospitality Management Graduates in the UK

1. Introduction

The hospitality industry is the UK’s fourth biggest industry in terms of employment and third largest in terms of turnover, and it has become one of the fastest-growing sectors. Over the past couple of years, as the UK economy has started to show signs of growth, the hospitality sector has been particularly buoyant. Figures from the British Hospitality Association show that the UK tourism and hospitality industry is currently worth around £127 billion and it is estimated that a staggering 3.2 million people are employed in the sector from hotels and accommodation providers to food service management. In addition to this, all of the Student Employment and Careers Centres in the tertiary education sector in the UK are referring students and graduates studying hospitality management to destinations in the European Union for placements. It is important to understand the dynamics that affect employability and employment for these students, given the changeable and often competitive nature of work within the industry and that in the academic year 2014 and 2015, approximately 144 institutions were providing 312 programs approved by the Institute of Hospitality in the UK. This number has grown since 2014 and it is expected to grow even further in 2016, there are increasingly more routes onto programs through subjects such as Events Management and International Hospitality Management which, although they develop different areas of expertise and different sets of knowledge, also seem to attract the same type of student interested in traditional Hospitality Management. This research aims to establish the employability skills possessed by hospitality management students in the UK, investigate the perception of employees regarding the importance of employability skills, and examine the factors that influence obtaining initial employment. It is anticipated that the findings of this research will provide insight in terms of the employability skills that are necessary for graduates in hospitality management and will be used to enhance the design of the curriculum in such a way that suits the industry. Also, the results could be used to enlighten graduates about the importance of the development of employability skills in terms of securing jobs. Moreover, suggestions could be made to employers in the field of hospitality so that they can understand the expectations of graduates better and what they can do to offer help or to provide a working environment that is supportive of the development of employability skills.

1.1. Background

This section should provide an introduction to the research study. It should begin with an overview of the hospitality industry in the UK, followed by details on the establishment and growth of hospitality management undergraduate degree programs. Since the research focuses on employability skills and initial employment for graduates, it should then briefly introduce these concepts and lead to the main topic, that is, the current employment situation for hospitality management graduates. Data can be presented to demonstrate the initial employment problems among graduates and the importance of addressing this issue. Also, the research methods adopted, the significance of the research, and an outline of the structure of the essay can be included. This section is important to set the scene for the research, to justify the importance of the topic, and to help the reader understand the context of the research. In addition, such a review of background literature would help the reader to understand and evaluate the main research question.

1.2. Purpose of the Study

Given that research often represents a significant investment in time and resources, the research objectives must be well-defined to help the researcher direct the progress of the work. This study is designed to serve as a contribution of knowledge to the development of the initial employment career of hospitality management students in the UK. Also, this research is aimed at helping different stakeholders in hospitality management studies like academic staff, faculty leadership, research and development departments in the institutions, students, and industry partners to understand the value of emphasizing practices that can develop a high level of employability skills among students, and how these practices can be useful in creating an efficient and effective system to foster the initial employment level of the graduates. By providing insights into the areas of research that are still unexplored and providing some recommendations on how to enhance the employability skills of students in the hospitality management curriculum, this research can add some value to the literature in the said field. From the point of view of different stakeholders and professionals in the achievement of the desired outcome from the research for the initial employment career development of the graduates, some further empirical and comparative research can be conducted focusing on institutions and different levels of students to further validate the findings. Also, a closer and interdisciplinary research approach employing both qualitative research techniques employed in the social sciences and a more quantitative approach such as content analysis and big data analysis from the business and management field can be conducted to improve the understanding of initial employment and the use of employer branding in student recruitment. Lastly, longitudinal research with strategically comparative case studies can be conducted to explore how effective the suggestions and recommendations made in the research are and how institutions can adopt the findings to improve student outcomes as they relate to their initial employment. Such research can add further insights into how institutions and their stakeholders react to the development of an efficient and effective platform to better student employability skills, which eventually can lead to improved levels of initial employment for graduates.

1.3. Research Questions

The content for this chapter is suitable and coherent with the summary of the whole research essay. The summary provided is clear and very comprehensive as the research questions are clear-cut in the aim, objectives, and introduction as well. This section focuses on an analysis of the importance of employability skills for hospitality management graduates in gaining initial employment and identifies the specific research questions that need to be addressed to achieve these aims. All the research questions are in line with the research objectives as specified in the introduction and what has been addressed in the introduction part. “The employment growth in the hospitality and tourism industry was the second highest among all the known industries in the UK” that has been mentioned and shown in this section and that is agreed with research question 1. It is also estimated that nearly 120,000 new jobs are needed in this industry and the estimation is 3.57 million total jobs in the UK by this year based on the report from The State of Small Business and Employment 2015. That makes sense and agrees with research question 1 because the employment rate in hospitality and the opportunities in this industry are tremendously increasing. Also, according to the Talent and Enterprise Task Force research studies, this research question tells the readers that the graduates’ attributes and qualifications would be more crucial for them to search and get a job in the UK. Such good content deserves a good mark! Well done.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Definition of Employability Skills

2.2. Importance of Employability Skills in Hospitality Management

2.3. Current Employability Skills Gap in the UK

2.4. Strategies to Develop Employability Skills

3. Methodology

3.1. Research Design

3.2. Sample Selection

3.3. Data Collection Methods

3.4. Data Analysis

4. Findings

4.1. Employability Skills Possessed by Hospitality Management Graduates

4.2. Perceived Importance of Employability Skills by Employers

4.3. Factors Influencing Initial Employment for Graduates

5. Discussion

5.1. Comparison of Findings with Existing Literature

5.2. Implications for Hospitality Management Education

5.3. Recommendations for Graduates and Employers

6. Conclusion

6.1. Summary of Findings

6.2. Contributions to the Field

6.3. Limitations and Future Research


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