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Top skills employers look for: people-centricity, resilience & soft skills

EHL Insights
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Among the top skills employers look for,  a thing or two can be learnt from hospitality - an industry grounded for over a century in developing customer excellence in the face of ever-changing client needs and challenging markets.

A people-centric business

Hospitality is first and foremost a ‘people’ business, both from the internal business point of view and from the external customer perspective. To be successful in the sector, it is essential to know how to function as part of a team – either as a leader or as a participant. Every team member has a contribution to make and each individual role is critical to the team achieving its objectives: delivering people-driven service excellence at all times. Whether back or front of house, there are few touchpoints in the hospitality industry that do not involve a human exchange.

At EHL, the message to our students is clear: good interpersonal skills are essential to the success of any business. These people skills are as much learnt from the experiential, hands-on curriculum that prides itself on in-situ learning, as from the multicultural personality of the school where over 120 nationalities study and work side by side.  

Dr. Achim Schmitt, (EHL Dean of Graduate Programs): “We teach that people-centricity is key. People centricity involves not just the customers, but all stakeholders including employees, business owners and suppliers. Our curriculum reflects a commitment both to digital innovation as well as preservation and expansion of human themes: the creation of an inclusive community, social accountability, a sense of purpose and belonging."


Soft and transferable skills

While most academic training focuses on hard skills, i.e. mastering specific techniques and analytical knowhow, soft skills relate to emotional intelligence, empathy, problem-solving and adaptability - qualities that facilitate positive human interaction in all contexts. These qualities are highly sought-after across all industries and job types not simply because they are key to successful customer outcomes, but also because in an increasingly digitalized world, human exchange is precious identity capital to be preserved.

According to Forbes, companies that hire employees with emotional intelligence could actually increase their revenue by over $90,000. In addition, the magazine indicates that two-thirds of all occupations will require these soft skills by the year 2030.  



A hospitality mindset is by nature versatile. It implies resilience, adaptability and innovative thinking simply due the ‘adversity advantage’ ingrained in its professional DNA. Long hours, multi-tasking, constant customer accountability – these are just a few of the challenges that hospitality employees and managers face on a daily basis. Could this be why even in the toughest of crises this sector is often the first hit but the first to bounce back?

Throughout the 100 years of EHL teaching experience, the focus has been to provide a smart direction for business leadership based on a mix of hard work, vision and high standards. Ambitious future leaders need to understand that success depends as much on a tight business plan as it does on the people-centricity of their team.

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