The hospitality industry is in serious need of employees. Millions of people that worked in the food and beverage, hotel, and travel businesses lost their job over the last year due to COVID-19.
Many of these workers decided to change industries and found work in other professions. And now, as the service industry starts reopening, it’s reportedly having a hard time finding workers.
So if you’re in need of work, have previously worked in this field, or are looking for a change at work, now is the time to get a job in the hospitality industry. Here’s everything you need to know about getting a hospitality job in 2021.
The hospitality industry covers several different sectors of the service industry. This includes:
Accommodations, air travel, and food services are the top three sectors within the hospitality industry in terms of economic output.
Jobs in the hotel industry can vary from entry-level bellhops, valet attendants, and housekeepers to front desk associates and concierge staff – great for those with customer service experience – to hotel managers and directors of sales.
Porter/bellhop - $12-14/hr plus tips
Hotel concierge - $14-17/hr
General hotel manager - $25-50/hr
While the popularity of food delivery skyrocketed during the pandemic, now restaurants and bars need to fill multiple in-house positions as they start reopening or opening at a greater capacity. Available jobs include waiters, bartenders, kitchen staff, catering supervisors, and restaurant managers.
Waiter - $7-10/hr plus tips
Kitchen staff - $8-11/hr
Catering supervisor - $15-25/hr
Pilots and flight attendants may be the most well-known jobs within the airline industry, but there are also tons of on-the-ground workers needed to get folks from one destination to another. Baggage handlers, ticket agents, administrative staff, and passenger service agents are a few of the jobs within this industry.
Baggage handler - $14-22/hr
Ticket agent - $14-28/hr
Flight attendant - $30-46/hr
Qualifications of course vary by industry and position. On the plus side, with a high demand for hospitality jobs, some companies are stating that they’ll train employees if they lack experience. Here are some general guidelines for jobs in the three main hospitality industries.
Entry-level hotel jobs include porters and room attendants (any previous housekeeping is a bonus), as well as valet attendants, though you’ll need a valid driver’s license for that role.
Some front desk clerks are hired without any prior experience, but having some type of customer service background or practice answering phones, maintaining records, or providing administrative support will likely put you ahead of other applicants.
While you can’t jump into manager positions at hotels without relevant work history, the hotel industry is a great place to move up the chain of command due to the many different departments available.
From cleaning staff to general hotel management to maintenance to on-site food and beverage, there are tons of opportunities for both entry-level and managerial roles.
Additionally, if you’ve ever rented your own home through a rental company like Airbnb, it may be a hiring advantage.
The food and beverage industry is also full of entry-level, mid-level, and senior positions. If you have no previous experience in a restaurant, bar, or catering space, popular starting positions include host/hostess, busser, prep cook, and dishwasher.
Many restaurants will also hire barbacks and waiters who are new to those jobs, but good people skills are preferred, if not necessary, for the latter. If you’re willing and committed, there are opportunities to move up the restaurant ladder, whether you choose to go the kitchen staff, managerial, or catering route.
Like any job, training is required, but there are entry-level positions in the airline industry. If you’re organized and detail-oriented, look for an administrative position.
Ticket and customer service agent jobs (both in-person and remote opportunities available) are entry-level, though any customer-facing experience is helpful. You should also be proficient in computers, and if you’re a desk agent, you’ll need to be able to lift luggage onto the conveyor belt.
To become a ramp agent or baggage handler, a driver’s license and high school diploma or equivalent are typically required, and you must be 18 years old. Flight attendant jobs, meanwhile, require several weeks of training and passing exams, in addition to a valid passport and high school diploma.
There’s upward mobility within the airline industry, plus the large number of airlines means switching companies is an option.
Not all of these jobs are customer-facing, but the fact that many require constant interactions with people could pose a safety issue with the ongoing pandemic.
While airports and airlines are still mandating that people wear a mask, restaurants and bars are not requiring people to do so, at least once they're seated.
For those that are hoping to be vaccinated before taking a hospitality job, there is good news. Today, 33 states are allowing any adult to receive the COVID vaccine, and the CDC has recommended that states prioritize giving the vaccine to those working in the hospitality industry.
If you're weary of getting the vaccine, it's worth noting that companies may be able to mandate that all employees get vaccinated. The United Airlines CEO announced that he wants to make the vaccine mandatory for the airline's more than 60,000 employees, but as of now it's still voluntary.
Would you consider a job in the hospitality industry right now? Why or why not?