Travel and Leisure and Tourism Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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The leisure and tourism sector covers an extremely wide area, with everything from hotel chains to multiplex cinemas falling under its banner. The main sections in industry are travel, tourism and accommodation.

With tourism being a lively and fun sector to get involved in, jobs are in high demand. This is no surprise, with the opportunity to travel, experience different cultures and design and manage different projects every day all being significant pulls for those searching for a rewarding career.

The global leisure sector is unbelievably lucrative - it is predicted that by 2015 it will have a yearly turnover of $2.8 trillion, with restaurants dominating the market.

Jobs in leisure and tourism that graduates may wish to consider, although there are many more, include:

  • Restaurant management
  • Marketing for hotels/ holiday resorts
  • Travel agent/ tour operator
  • Events management
  • Sports development manager
  • Museum management
  • Gallery curatorship

Although the range of jobs across the sector is varied, many of them will involve similar roles, such as management of people. It is also increasingly important to be aware of green issues, as sustainable tourism and eco-travel are now more popular than ever.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

For graduate schemes in leisure or tourism, for example those offered by Marriott or Thomas Cook, any good quality degree will suffice.

There are many graduate jobs in leisure and tourism offered by the big companies, and they 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.

Not all graduates choose to take up graduate schemes in this sector, however. Some jobs within the sector that may require a specific degree or qualification may include holiday resort chefs or childcare co-ordinators.

Other degrees or skills that could be beneficial for your career in leisure and tourism include events management or business.

What skills do I need?TOP ^

Working in the leisure and tourism sector is often 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. The value of sustainable tourism and green business is increasingly important, so the ability to make everything you do ethical and to have an awareness of the wider environmental and social implications is also vital.

What graduate leisure and tourism job can I do? TOP ^

There are many graduate jobs available in the leisure and tourism sector. Some of the biggest graduate employers include:

  • Hotels: Marriott, De Vere Group, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Travel: Tui Travel, Thomson, Thomas Cook, Expedia UK

Within these companies there are various different graduate roles, the majority of which will be business focused. They may include:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Advertising

Graduate programmes give you a structured pattern of work, set goals to reach, and often offer the chance of a permanent job after the completion of your scheme. Schemes are likely to last between 18 months and two years.

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 leisure and tourism salariesTOP ^

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
  • Travel agency branch manager: £15,000 - £45,000
  • Leisure centre manager: £15,000 - £35,000
Browse all Travel and Leisure and Tourism jobs for this guide