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There are few industries growing or evolving faster than hospitality. Experiential consumer demands, technology and diversification are all creating a constantly shifting marketplace that increasingly needs multi-skilled and adaptable leaders.

As a leading hospitality educator, it is Glion’s responsibility to stay ahead of these changes and prepare students for successful careers with the right expertise. We do this in a number of ways, such as maintaining strong and integrated links with innovative businesses. But possibly our greatest guidance comes from our Industry Advisory Board.

The insight we gain from our board shapes the programs we offer, the facilities we provide and the opportunities we deliver for our students. The board is comprised of eight experienced professionals from various business fields, and their knowledge is shared across the school through our Faculty Development program.

How can a university prepare young people to join the new workplace?

The Faculty Development program ensures continual professional development for both teaching staff and students. As part of the program, this semester, Dr Martin Senior, Senior Lecturer and Faculty Development Lead, organized a panel discussion with three members of the Industry Advisory Board. The topic of the panel was “Future jobs, responding to the speed of change: Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace”.

By 2028, 60% of the workforce will be Millennials and Gen Z, so it’s very important to understand how this generation works and what is important to them in the workplace. Also, how can a university prepare these young people to join the new workplace? The panel discussion was led by Jonathan Humphries, Head of International Hotel Development & Asset Management Specialization, with three guest speakers from our Advisory Board:

  • Martin Franck, Principal at Martin Franck Consulting
  • Jaume Tapies, CEO at Aina Capital SL
  • Erwan Legoff, Regional Director for Europe at Zoox Smart Data

New skills for changing roles

It seems that traditional hospitality positions do not fit the new workplace anymore. The new generation of professionals will have to invent their jobs as everything is changing at a more rapid pace than before. With this in mind, we asked the question: As an educational institution, how does Glion adapt its programs to help them prepare for this and find the right match for their careers?

Jaume: “There is a big gap between generations. Technology is changing many things in the workplace and it is difficult for the older generation to follow. However, what companies can do is hire young people who have a lot of ideas about how to attract their own generation. The brands need to follow the needs of this new generation, or they will die. With Millennials, it is not about the money – it is about different values, and if these values are not respected, they will leave a company for a better opportunity. The issue with Millennials is that they are missing the experience, so they want to go too fast.”

Martin: “Maybe the different behaviour of these young people is not at all about the generation they are in, but it might be about their environment. It is a high-employment time, so Millennials can afford to care less about earning a steady pay and care more about the companies’ values, because they know that there is always another job that they can get. This is why they care much more about being treated fairly by their employer than anything else. For example, they do not like hierarchies, as they want information to flow horizontally and they want to contribute to decisions.”

Helping professionals find their field

Glion Faculty pointed out to the panel that students often have no clear idea on what they want for themselves. Jaume agreed.

Jaume: “What I always tell them when they are not sure about their future careers is that fields like finance, marketing and human resources are important in any industry that they could join in the future. So I suggest them to try working in one of these fields and see if this is something that they find interesting to pursue or not. It will definitely be a useful experience, no matter what, and it might give them a clearer idea of what they like or don’t like.”

The rise of core competencies

Nowadays, hiring managers at leading businesses are increasingly looking for individuals with transferable skills rather than perfect knowledge in one business area, and are offering rich working experiences for those who bring a flexible learning mindset.

Erwan: “Some companies learnt that they have to adapt their employment conditions if they want to attract the young generation. A good example is Citizen M: they propose to all of their employees the possibility to move to any country whenever they want. This gives them the possibility to be more flexible in their international careers. Citizen M understood that young people want to get experience, but they do not want to be full-time employees and they want to travel the world, so every time they move to another country they feel like they changed their job and have another personal challenge.”

Another fact that the panel pointed out is that Millennials and Gen Zers bring a different mindset to the company. As Erwan highlighted: “When you give a project to a young person today, he or she will not ask you how to do a project, but why are we doing this project at all.” According to Martin, this might be one of the reasons why it is difficult for other generations to work with them and adapt.

Connected to the network, not a network

All of the panel agreed that the data and technology are playing a really important part in the lives of this generation. As a result of being constantly connected, some students seem to have limited creativity, some do not have any emotional intelligence and others have issues networking and connecting face-to-face.

So, “can you teach creativity and emotional intelligence to students?”

Erwan: “Our responsibility is not to teach these skills, but to encourage an environment where they can be more creative and where they can teach themselves emotional intelligence.”

Skillsets that are in-demand

Panel discussions like this one, and all of the input from the Industry Advisory Board, provide invaluable insight that helps shape the skillsets we teach. Through sessions like this, Glion is able to constantly develop its programs, so that future generations of hospitality leaders have the expertise and ability to enjoy highly successful and rewarding careers.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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