Catering and Hospitality Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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The catering and hospitality sector covers an extremely wide area: everything from organising private functions to managing restaurant chains or Bed and Breakfast hotels.

The industry is customer facing, with friendliness, comfort and good quality service at its root. Balanced with this is the need to keep up with the business side of what is an extremely competitive industry.

It is this interaction with the public and the satisfaction of seeing customers satisfied, as well as the possibility for huge profits, that makes the hospitality and catering industry such a popular choice for university graduates.

Restaurants dominate the leisure market, which itself has a global income of $2.8 trillion.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

There are a large number of degrees that are specifically designed for those who want to work in the hospitality and catering sector. They include:

  • International hospitality management
  • Hospitality management
  • Hotel management
  • Tourism management
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Hospitality and leisure

These degrees will give you the specific business skills needed to go directly into the sector upon graduation – skills such as marketing, management, finance and customer service.

If you want to go into catering specifically, for example as a catering manager or chef, a degree is probably not needed, although you will have to have the necessary skills and training required.

However, you can also go into the hospitality and catering sector with a more general degree. A good route into this is through a graduate scheme run by a large company, which will focus on the business side of the industry.

What skills do I need?TOP ^

Working in the hospitality and catering sector is without exception customer facing, which means that a variety of skills are essential. They include:

There are also other important skills that you will need to display, especially if you are in a management role or on a graduate scheme in this industry:

It is also important to have a strong commercial awareness, as well as knowledge of business and of the market that you are working within - both with regards to the consumer and competitors within the industry. What the customer requires must always be paramount, and those working in hospitality and catering are constantly searching for ways to make their business stand out from the crowd – whether this is through innovative new business thinking, new product development or simply exceptional customer service.

What graduate hospitality and catering job can I do? TOP ^

There are a large number of roles that you could consider as a graduate looking to go into catering or hospitality. As long as you have the necessary skills, you could find a job in any of the following areas upon graduation:

  • Restaurant management
  • Hotel/ B&B management
  • Marketing for hotel chains
  • Marketing for restaurants
  • Luxury events management
  • Catering manager
  • Bar/ pub manager
  • Chef

In terms of structured graduate schemes offered by large companies, some of the biggest providers of graduate employment in the hospitality and catering sector include:

  • In hospitality: Marriott, Hilton Hotels, De Vere, Jurys Inn, QHotels, ARAMARK
  • In catering: Nandos, McDonalds, Fullers, Whitbread, Lexington Catering

Graduate jobs in hospitality and catering offered by the big companies will often be in management training roles and last two years. They can offer good salaries, clear career progression and wide opportunities for learning. Most employers will ask for a 2.1.

Some schemes, such as that offered by De Vere Group, combine separate areas - the De Vere programme consists of marketing, sales and finance, for example.

Average catering and hospitality salariesTOP ^

On average salaries within the hospitality and catering sector are low, but this is because of the high number of people working for low pay in the fast food services. As a trainee on a graduate scheme, you can be expected to be paid a very reasonable wage. The average graduate starting salary across all sectors in 2013 is £29,000.

For specific non-graduate scheme jobs you should expect to be paid the following:

  • Hotel manager: £21,000 - £40,000
  • Restaurant manager: £18,000 - £40,000
  • Catering manager: £15,000 - £40,000
  • Events planner: £19,000 - £70,000
  • Bar/ pub manager: £16,000 - £40,000
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