Tours of duty
The good thing about hospitality and tourism is that there's almost always a job to be found. The industry has been undergoing a shortage of quality talent and management hires in recent years. There is a wide variety of jobs in the industry for people of all skill sets and education levels, and high turnover means wide availability. According to MyCareer, the average pay for those in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry is about $52,000. However, there's obviously a big pay gap between a dishwasher and a management job. Aside from the mid- to upper-level positions, compensation levels are generally on the low side.
Most entry-level jobs in hotels require minimal training -- most of it comes on the job. Housekeeper and janitor positions generally require the least training and education, and have the fewest opportunities for advancement, though they can be attractive for seasonal or temporary work. Those who work in guest services as a host or hostess or desk clerk can advance to supervisory positions with sufficient experience in the industry. Completion of a program in hotel management will also usually lead to more rapid advancement. Hotels may also need people in the food service industry, such as chefs and restaurant staff. Hospitality involves 24-hour service, and low seniority usually entails working night and weekend shifts, at least initially. Sales positions are usually fast-paced and often require prior experience.
Studying can take you far
Hospitality has been undergoing a shift over the years from a skill-based to a knowledge-based industry. In the past, most hotel managers were hired from food and beverage, front desk, housekeeping and sales positions, without a strong emphasis on higher education requirements. However, employers today frequently give hiring preference to individuals with degrees in international hotel and tourism management. A bachelor's degree in business management (especially with a focus on tourism or leisure management) can also take you a long way. There are also specific hospitality schools, such as Tourism Training Australia, which can get you in the door.
Graduates of hotel and hospitality management programs usually start as trainee assistant managers, or at least advance to such positions quickly. This doesn't apply just to hotels, but can also get you a management position at casinos, clubs, restaurants and bars, as well as a potential dive into sales and marketing. Clerkships can also get your foot in the door when it comes to getting hired for a management-track position. Another way in is through a leadership training program, which hires recent graduates to participate.