Hospitality Industry
2 min read

INDUSTRY REPORT: Talent Development and Empowerment in 2020

Heidi Lee
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The Young Hoteliers Summit (YHS) returns with the 2020 edition of the Employer Rankings Survey. This year, the survey has collated 1,150 responses from students and alumni of over 270 universities around the world. The survey’s findings are summarized in the Employer Rankings Report which focuses on understanding the underlying factors affecting employee motivation in the context of retention, training and development, empowerment and career aspirations.

Key Takeaways

Training & Development Programs

78% of alumni respondents agree that improvements should be made in their current Training & Development program and that companies need to encourage more cross-departmental training.

Related to this finding, 14% of these same respondents perceive the outcomes of the training received as not useful in other work contexts, showing that what was learned is not transferable and sometimes overly specific to the company.


Training & Development programs should focus on imparting skills and knowledge applicable in other work contexts as well as in other departments within the company (cross-departmental training).


Employee Empowerment

According to the survey’s findings, employee empowerment means being allowed to be creative when dealing with a work-related problem, being given authority, flexibility and being encouraged to handle problems on one’s own.

Interestingly, not needing approval from managers to handle a problem is not necessarily perceived as a means of employee empowerment. 22% of alumni respondents feel empowered even if they require their manager’s approval to handle a work-related problem.


To foster employee empowerment in an organization, employers should empower employees by giving them the autonomy to deal with work-related problems in a creative and flexible way whilst having their managers' support.


Influence of internship experience on career decisions

20% of the respondents do not wish to work/are currently not working in the same industry as their most recent internship. Also, 39% of the respondents stated that their internship experience has affected their intention to enter the profession. The top three reasons that have impacted their decisions are a)repetitive work, b) not wanting to be in the same industry for the long term, c) the gap between expectation and reality.


Hospitality companies should effectively structure internship programs by better aligning the program’s objectives with both the organization’s requirements and interns’ expectations. For example, it would be advisable to first understand mutual needs and expectations, provide meaningful tasks and conduct periodic assessments.


Brand Rankings

In the Luxury and Upper Upscale segment, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts ranks first followed by The Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Hotels & Resorts.

Four Seasons has ranked first for two consecutive years and the same three brands have been in the top 3 since 2019.

YHS one

Among the top 10 desired employers to work for, 4 hotel brands belong to Marriott International (Ritz-Carlton, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Bulgari Hotels and W Hotels). This could be explained by its wide scope of brands and possible job opportunities, since it is the largest hotel chain in the world.

In the Upscale and Upper Midscale segment, 42% of respondents ranked Hyatt Place as their most desired employer to work for.

Movenpick, Novotel Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott and Wyndham Hotels are first-timers on the top 10 list.


In the Midscale and Economy segment, Ibis Hotels has once again returned as the most preferred employer to work for since 2018.

Accor dominates this segment with two of its brands in the top three.


About the Young Hoteliers Summit (YHS)

Founded in 2010, YHS has since established itself as the largest student-run hospitality summit in the world. Every year, YHS welcomes over 30 industry professionals along with students from more than 40 of the world’s leading hospitality institutions to engage in insightful debates and discussions on the industry’s hottest topics.

The YHS Employer Rankings is an integral component towards achieving the mission of YHS, which is to improve opportunities for young talent by putting global hotel companies in the spotlight. Since 2010, hospitality students worldwide have been asked to give their perceptions of the employment landscape in the industry.

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EHL student and co-head of Rankings for the Young Hoteliers Summit 2020

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