The hospitality industry is facing a dramatic labor shortage. After the pandemic, many employees have decided not to return to work, and as a consequence, hotels are struggling to find and attract candidates. This problem is however not new because the industry has always been associated with difficult conditions: long hours, work-life conflict and stress. Even among hospitality management students, many of them will work in other industries and choose non-hospitality occupations. What are the career insights that can help a hospitality graduate envision their future professional life?
Based on these elements, we asked ourselves two questions: 1) What are the occupations chosen by EHL Business School graduates? 2) Is there a relationship between the person and the occupation? In other words, do graduates choose occupations that fit best with their personality?
To answer these questions, we analyzed the type of jobs held by 523 professionals approximately five years after they graduated from EHL Business School. More specifically, we examined the LinkedIn profiles of all those graduates and coded their current position according to the job categories found on O*NET, an online platform that has detailed descriptions of tasks, knowledge, skills and other characteristics associated with all occupations.
We also extracted the RIASEC ratings of each occupation. RIASEC stands as Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C). These six dimensions refer to the vocational interests identified by the psychologist John Holland.
require very often working outside, physical strength and/or dexterity (e.g., farmers, housekeepers, bakers).
involve working with ideas and data (e.g., financial analysts, mathematicians, or chemists).
involve creativity and self-expression (e.g., actors, photographers, interior designers).
involve providing care or service to others (e.g., teachers, nurses, flight attendants).
involve leading projects and people (e.g., general managers, public relations specialists, or insurance agents).
require following procedures and is very often associated with “office work” (e.g., receptionists, accountants, or web developers).
Each occupation can be described as a combination of these six interests, and are rated on a scale from 0 to 100 regarding the importance of all of them. Based on our research, we discovered 10 interesting facts.
1. It was interesting to discover that our 523 graduates worked in 72 different occupations, showing the widespread diversity of jobs. The table below lists the 10 occupations that were the most popular.
2. We found that more than 15% of the professionals worked as sales managers including key account managers across a vast array of industries.
3. Most of the occupations were rated as very high in the “enterprising” dimension, meaning that these professionals undertake projects and manage others as part of their job.
4. There were also 18.5% of the graduates who worked in occupations that were “investigative”. These occupations involve finding information and/or analyzing data. For instance, many graduates worked as financial quantitative analysts or management analysts (business consultants).
5. The first occupation which refers exclusively to the hospitality industry was F&B managers, followed by lodging managers. They were very few housekeeping managers or spa managers.
6. We had given a personality questionnaire to these graduates during their studies and we examined if personality would predict their occupation years later. We found that certain personality traits predicted the occupation of the graduates. This is in line with the person-environment fit framework which postulates that individuals work in environments that fit with their personality.
7. The personality trait of extraversion was key. Individuals that are extraverted tended to have occupations that are rated as higher on the enterprising domain. This means that extraverted people would be more inclined to occupy jobs with a high score on the enterprising domain (e.g., sales manager, marketing manager, food server manager), whereas the most introverted individuals tended to have occupations that are lower on this aspect.
8. It was interesting to observe that graduates who were more introverted were interested in job profiles that could be categorized as being high in the investigative domain but low in the enterprising domain, e.g., financial quantitative analysts, management analysts, market research analysts or business intelligence analysts.
9. There was a correlation between conscientiousness (being meticulous, organized and hard-working) and the occupation in regard to its ”conventional” aspect. Professionals who were very conscientious and organized were more likely to have occupations that require attention to detail (e.g., project management specialist, executive assistant, accountant, controller).
10. We observed that the jobs that were the highest in the “artistic” domain were the following: public relations specialist, content manager, graphic designer, interior designer, video game designer, and producers and talent directors. Jobs that were the highest in the “social” domain (focused on helping others) were the following: training and development managers, mental health counsellors, and human resource managers and specialists.
Our results are insightful for future graduates who decide to pursue a career in a hospitality business school. The study reveals that EHL graduates gravitate in a multitude of occupations. It also demonstrates that a good understanding of one’s personality can help in choosing a suitable occupation.