Expert Opinions

Ashleigh Christie – Regional Director of People & Culture – Africa @ Minor Hotels

  1. What specific qualities or skills do you look for when hiring graduates from hotel schools for roles within Minor Hotels?

As these graduates will be the future of our industry we are looking for people who are first of all passionate about the hospitality industry, great all rounders who have excelled in all areas whilst at hotel school, both practical and theoretical.  Team players with a deep understanding of guest centricity, good communication skills, attention to detail coupled with problem solving  skills, technical proficiency and not afraid of taking risks.

  1. How important is practical experience versus academic qualifications when considering graduates for employment in the hospitality industry?

As the hospitality industry is a service oriented industry,  practical experience is extremely important as it provides graduates with real-world skills along with industry knowledge, allowing the graduate to gain insight into the day to day operations of the hospitality sector.   The individual is also exposed to customer interactions and problem solving situations which helps develop strong customer service skills.

On the academic front, foundational knowledge providing an understanding of the industries principles, theories and best practices, critical thinking and analytical skills which impart a broader knowledge of the business environment and professionalism are as important as the practical aspect of the graduates education.

Balancing both is therefore vital as the ideal candidate often combines both practical experience and academic qualifications  levering both to excel in their roles.

  1. What strategies does Minor Hotels employ to attract and retain top talent within the African hospitality industry?

Our Grow With Us program forms the foundation of our talent management platform.   Our high performance team members are identified and put on various development programs, from our Supervisory Development Program, through to our Commercial leaders and eventually our Horizon program for future General Managers.  With the growth in Minor Hotels, there are many opportunities to experience different cultures as well as get exposure to different brands through task force opportunities, including pre-opening and cross exposure projects.

Ascent is our graduate program, which involves a six month operational project followed by six months elective in their preferred department.    The program is being relaunched this year and we look forward to building our leadership pipeline via Ascent.

  1. Are there any specific challenges or opportunities you see in recruiting and developing talent within the African hospitality market?

There is definitely a gap between the skills demanded by the industry and the skills possessed by the available workforce.  This is the reason the international opportunities offered by Minor Hotels is so important.

As the industry grows in Africa there is an increased competition for skilled and experienced professionals, which can make it challenging to attract and retain top talent.

The regulatory and legal environment should also be taken into account as understanding and complying with local labour laws and regulations is essential for effective talent management.

The growing tourism industry in Africa opens up great opportunities for local talent and it is important that we invest in developing our local talent in order to bridge the skills gap. 

  1. How does Minor Hotels support the ongoing professional development and growth of employees within the organization, particularly those hired from hotel schools?

Minor Hotels has recently appointed Bree Creaser as VP Learning & Development and Talent Management as well as Aleksander Hojgaard as Director of Talent Acquisition, who report to our Craig Cochrane our CPO in Bangkok and will support the global talent pipeline.

  1. In your opinion, what are some of the key trends shaping the future talent landscape of the African hospitality industry?

We are currently in a very exciting time in Africa with Digital transformation definitely on the top of everyone’s list.    This trend is going to create a huge demand for talent with digital literacy, data analytics skills and the ability to navigate and leverage emerging technologies

Sustainability and ego friendly practices are becoming increasing important on the global front and this is no different to Minor International.

Given the dynamic nature of our industry,  team members who are able to navigate uncertainties, embrace change and foster innovation will be crucial to our success.

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