Tourism and Employment
IMPROVING training in order to upgrade skills in the tourism industry
- Mr Jens Friis Jensen
- The diagnosis of the reality shows that the globalisation of products, services and markets already affects the tourism sector in Europe to an extent where there are more similarities than differences between the factors that affect tourism in all the Member States. Together with the consequences of globalisation, the relative loss in global market shares and signs of problems with quality are indications of the need for improved competitiveness.
üIn many countries the seasonal character of tourism represents an obstacle to the development of tourism but in general the problems tourism in Europe is experiencing can be linked to human resource problems, low productivity, quality gaps and the unexploited potential of technology.
üThere is a difference between sub-sectors in the way the factors identified have an impact on the single sector. Parts of the hotel and restaurant sector, together with travel agencies and the transport sector experience the problems caused by the factors to a lesser degree. There is also a difference between the large number of small enterprises with seasonal structure and the very large (global) enterprises with whole year structure.
Factors which could affect training in the Tourist industry
(distilled from the Country Reports-not listed in order of priority)
3.Staff recruitment and retention
5.Employment of foreign nationals
7.Financial resources. 8.Poor perception and image of tourism
12.There is not a high level of off-the-job training of staff.
13.Relevance of qualifications
14.Low level of education of the workforce.
19.Limited size of the enterprise
20.Lack of specialist trainers with experience in the sector.
21.Poor quality training and overproduction of candidates/ diplomas
22.Fierce competition23.Changes in organisa-tional culture and the evolution of the nature of work
24.Motivation behind access to tourism as a job
25.Globalised tourism markets and evolu-tion of the nature of demand for services
26.Vertical and horizontal integration processes
- Source: Self-elaborated from the Country Reports.
- üIn fact it seems to be necessary – when talking about training problems and solutions – to deal with two types of problems, two segments with different problems: The small family-run enterprise, the micro-enterprise; The large tourism enterprise.
üDue to the structure of the tourism sector it will be necessary to continue the work on the development of training systems, which incorporate the problems of season and the great share of micro enterprises. Public authorities should play a major role in the development of these training systems, which has to build on close links with the industry.
üBut the general picture is that the tourism industry in general has problems of retaining labour (high labour turn-over) and the industry in some countries is experiencing problems of recruiting labour. Furthermore the industry in many countries in particular in the accommodation and restaurant sectors, struggles with a poor image as an employer.
üIn general tourism is experiencing/facing a skills gap. Despite an improvement in the level of formal education tourism is still – with exceptions for sub-sectors such as travel agencies, transport companies and tourism organisations – characterised by a relatively low level of education compared to other sectors of the economy. Furthermore there is evidence that empirical knowledge is no longer enough to be competitive.
üThe training needs identified show that there is a need for improving general management skills. Particular attention, though, should be given to skills needed to face the impact and potential use of ICT and the development of human resources. For supervisors it is the training skills and for skilled (and semi-skilled) craft it is the integration of traditional technical skills with the skills derived from the emerging new job profile that is the most important.
Training needs in the Tourist Industry per category.
Skilled craft workforceSemi-skilled
|training needs all categories +training needs all categories+training needs all categories+training needs all categories+|
-Safety and security within tourism enterprises
-First Aid-Basic Computer skills
-Business Planning/ strategic planning
-Management through vision and values
-Product development, innovation
-Human Resource Management
-Planning resources, guidance and advice at regional/local level
-Management skills to cope with the globalisation reality
-Train the Trainer
-Hygiene-Basic Computer skills
-Human Resource Management
-Basic computer skills
-Technical skills (bar, kitchen, restaurant, cleaning.)
- Source: Self-elaborated from the Country Reports.
- üTogether with a general improvement of skills for all categories priority should be given to the integration of traditional technical skills with the skills derived from the emerging new job profile. The changes in organisation and the new job profile indicate the need to move from a stage where the organisation is purely based on operations to a stage where the organisation, while still being operational, also becomes a development/learning organisation which will influence future training needs.
üStill there seems to be a need for developing the analytical framework for analysing learning practices in tourism in particular in micro enterprises and for analysing and identifying skills needs (competencies) to improve the basis for the anticipation of all ready coming and future job profiles.
üPriority/the focus should therefore be – not on education as the single solution to the problems – but on the capability of the enterprise to develop the existing workforce – in co-operation with training institutions/systems – in order to gain sustainable competitive advantage through the development of human resources.
On the basis of the diagnosis of the reality of learning in the tourism industry in Europe – distilled from the information provided by the national experts in the Country Reports – the following strategic fields are recommended as priorities in order to improve the competitiveness of tourism enterprises from a training/learning perspective:
üAttracting skilled labour to the sector
It is necessary to improve the attractiveness and the image of the sector as a serious alternative to other sectors of the economy in order to ensure future recruitment and diminishing the skill gaps. The following measures are recommended:
|·An image/awareness raising campaign to improve the image of the tourism sector.
·A research and development programme including a benchmarking system on improved working conditions, flexible working contracts and career-paths together with innovative and flexible training solutions – with the involvement of the social partners.
|·Improving the quality of education and training in tourism for people entering the industry so that it to a better reflects the real needs of the tourism sector.
·Establishing closer links with industry,
·Improving the quality of trainers
·Develop tailored training programmes together with the industry for new labour entering the tourism sector.
- üRetaining and developing labour in the sector
High turn over and skill gaps are identified as some of the most important factors affecting tourism. There is a need to improve the enterprise ability to retain and develop HR in tourism.
|·An awareness campaign should be directed towards the tourism industry – and other stakeholders – with the purpose of raising awareness in the industry of the benefits of qualified labour, improved working conditions, investment in training and on the career possibilities in the tourism sector as a whole.
·A research programme on human resources needs and working conditions focusing on the role and responsibility of the enterprises respectively the public authorities in a public-private interface.
·A benchmarking system directed at tourism enterprises as a concrete tool for improving business excellence via investment in the development of human resources and it’s impact on quality, innovation, reduced operational costs etc
|·Continuing training should be made flexible and adaptive on new skills taking into account the complex working schedule and seasonality in the industry together with the fast changes in skill needs. Continuing training should not only be thought of for skilled/semiskilled labour but also for supervisors and managers.
·Support the validation and recognition of qualifications acquired both in formal education and as a result of professional experience and informal training.
·Improve the knowledge basis on skill needs and training in tourism.
·Improve statistics in the field of education, training and learning needs
·Develop the analytical framework for analysing and identifying present and future skill needs
·The formation of a European Forum to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of tourism training practice among the Member States. The Forum should include an observatory of qualifications and skill needs in tourism in the EU and ensure better documentation on labour and training: number of jobs, job creation, skill needs, training expenditure, working conditions etc
·The creation of a network of Centres of experiences in tourism
- üImproving competitiveness in micro-enterprises
The micro enterprises are an important part of European tourism and need to have particular attention due to their special conditions
|·Programme for improvement of management skills – not only the management of the enterprise: business planning, marketing, product development and innovation and HRM, but also skills in developing strategic alliances (networks) between enterprises need to be developed (strategic management).
·Special attention should be given to the potential for an integrated use of ICT in micro enterprises.
·Support the further development of Concepts for Regional/local learning structures, learning in networks as a system for improving competitiveness in micro enterprises that can:
·Anticipate training/skills needs and
·Secure their flexible and immediate provision with the active involvement/participation of all stakeholders involved in improved training structures
·Support the development of concepts for learning where regional/local public authorities take the initiative to establish networks of enterprises supported by training institutions
|·Research on the concept of learning in tourism as a common concept for the development of human resources in tourism in Europe in particular in micro enterprises so as to get knowledge on how to systematically improve the capability of the enterprise to develop the existing workforce in order to gain sustainable competitive advantage through the development of human resources.
·Development of the analytical framework for analysing learning practices in tourism in particular in micro-enterprises and for analysing and identifying present and future skill needs to improve the anticipation of emerging job profiles.
- üDespite the education and training reforms in several countries there is still great uncertainty about how tourism education should evolve in the future to take up the challenges described in the report. The issue of future requirements for tourism education and training should therefore be followed very closely and could together with the issue of learning be the subject of systematic research, both at national and EU-level.
üA dialogue between the Member States, the European Commission, European institutions and specialised institutions such as CEDEFOP and other experts on education issues within the EU is needed to start a discussion on how to build a strategy for the future process of improvement and development of human resources and learning.
üThe role and responsibility of all stakeholders in future solutions can not be stressed enough. Yet public authorities at all levels – national, regional and local level – must be said to have a special and very important role to play in the development of micro enterprises.
This document – as result of common work of Member State experts – is proposed to form the basis of EU guidance to Member States on tourism training support through existing EU-programmes implemented at national level such as the ESF-programmes.