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Analysis the level of competency of hospitality

employees from industry perspective: Gap analysis


reference to graduates and non- graduates

UWU/HTE/10/0028
S.R.B.Nicholas

Supervisor-Mr. Ruwan Ranasinghe

Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management Degree program


Uva Wellassa University
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Contents
Background.............................................................................................................. 3
Problem statement..................................................................................................... 3
Objectives................................................................................................................ 3
Research questions..................................................................................................... 4
Literature Review...................................................................................................... 5
Conceptual Framework.............................................................................................. 7
Hypothesis............................................................................................................... 7
Operationalization..................................................................................................... 8
Methodology............................................................................................................. 9
Significance of the study.............................................................................................. 9
Time Frame............................................................................................................ 10
References.............................................................................................................. 11

Background
The hospitality industry is rated to be one of the fastest growing industries in Sri Lanka. In
2012, Sri Lanka passed two milestones in its tourism history by recording more than one
million tourist arrivals and US $ 1 billion in export earnings. At the same time SLTDA
forecasts there will be the need for 101,232 direct employees to service 39,000 in 2018. The
country therefore needs to train and develop some 43,452 new tourism workers in the next
five years, for direct employment alone.
Those facts indicate that more employees will be needed in the hospitality industry, and it
seems logical to assume that there will be a need for qualified hospitality employees. Since
competent and well qualified employees are the main resource of any organization in
acquiring a competitive advantage. Land, buildings or materials do not yield company
productivity, rather, it is people capital that runs a business and produces value from
existing resources.
To provide competent and qualified employees towards the hospitality and tourism industry,
industry focused education is critical. If the employees incapable of meeting the industry
demand, the responsibility will be inevitably focus towards the education sector of the
particular industry. In the context of Sri Lanka hospitality sector, it is suffering from the
quantity and quality issues regarding the supply of labor (Srilal Miththapala, 2011). Hence a
careful study of employee competencies required by hospitality employers is prerequisite for
the current scenario of the hospitality sector in Sri Lanka.

Problem statement
Hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing industry in Sri Lanka. It indicates that more
and qualified human capital will be needed. Employee competency is most important factor
for every organization, since employee competency is associated with service quality,
customer satisfaction, competitive advantage, and organizational competency (Salih
Kusluvan, et al 2010). Hospitality Industry criticized tourism education for not adequately
preparing people for employment in the industry (Airey, 1988). Accordingly employees
impotent to meet the desires of the hospitality employer. It will create a gap between the
employers expected level of competencies and level of competencies which already possess
by employees.

Objectives
1. To prioritize competencies which are mostly important for the hospitality employee
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2. To

identify

the

relationship

between

hospitality

managers

demographic

characteristics and expected level of competency.


3. To identify the gap between actual level of competency and expected level of
competency among hospitality graduates.
4. To identify the gap between actual level of competency and expected level of
competency among diploma holders.
5. To identify the gap between actual level of competency and expected level of
competency among school leavers.
6. To compare the actual level of competency within above three groups of employees.

Research questions
1. What is the relationship between hospitality managers demographic characteristics
and expected level of competency?
2. What is the gap between actual level of competency and expected level of
competency among hospitality graduates?
3. What is the gap between actual level of competency and expected level of
competency among diploma holders?
4. What is the gap between actual level of competency and expected level of
competency among school leavers?
5. What is the variance between actual levels of competency within above three groups
of employees?

Literature Review
People are one of the most important resources for businesses throughout the world. This is
particularly true with respect to a service-intensive sector such as hospitality. It is only
through focused developmental support of all staff with an emphasis on high-quality and
high-competencies that the hotel industry can reach its full business potential. Therefore
competencies and quality of staff are among the most important factors in underpinning the
competitive success of the hotel (Hai-yan and Baum, 2006).
Hospitality industry expectation
The hospitality industry is complex and dynamic and so its definition remains open to
ongoing debate and research (Brotherton, 2004; William, 2004; Jones, 2004 in Hemmington,
2007). Slattery (2002) challenges the three main domain approaches of social, private and
commercial environment. This is due to the fact that it excludes important aspects of the
industry; instead, he views hospitality industry, co-operate and venue-context (Lashely and
Morrison, 2000), from philosophical and commercial perspectives to include several
interesting perspectives such as humour and others. Hemmington (2007) points out the debate
on unclear definition of the hospitality industry as a limiting factor in the industrial growth
and development. The present study includes both commercial and non-commercial aspect of
the hospitality industry. The author wished to find out in the midst of this definition debate
whether the employers know the competences they expect from the employees.
When expectation matches perception, Ladkin (2005) suggest that quality results. Critics like
Said and Henkerson (2005) suggest that trainee exiting colleges should be ahead of the
industry to keep abreast with times, and also help the industry cope with the emerging
changes and introduce innovations. The current position is quite different the trainee learns a
lot from the industry due to the presence of modern equipment and improved methods of
service.
Various researchers reveal that in different countries employers expect employees to possess
different skills. Burgess and Aitken (2004) in their survey of employers revealed functional,
conflict resolution, computer skills and good work habits as the expected. They also revealed
chronic shortages of chefs skills, kitchen, housekeeping, and management, sales,
enterprising and customer service. The industry expectation varies as per country being
researched. There seems to be skills and competency that are common to all researchers like
customer service, technical skills and management that the industry expects an employee to
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possess in order to be competent. Burgess and Aitken (2004) did not address skills and
competence in the form of under-standing the level of service expected by international
guests, multi-skilled and self-initiative.
What kind of education is needed for the hospitality industry?
Employees are quite often required to have specific skills and abilities. Spivack (1997) stated
that there are skill development issues related to changes occurring within the tourism and
hospitality industry. Christou (1999) highlighted that skills should be given priority when
recruiting new staff. Many authors (Damitio, 1988; Damitio & Schmidgall, 1993; Hsu &
Gregory, 1995; Knutson & Patton, 1992; Ladkin, 1999; Ley, 1980; Riley & Turam, 1989)
pointed out that specific skills would be very important for developing a career because
hospitality is becoming more globalized. The need for multicultural abilities and skills is
more critical for employees working in the industry (Sigala, 2001).
In the 1998 study completed by Breiter & Clements, the top three skills that were deemed
important by hospitality recruiters of new graduates were; leadership 13 skills, managerial
communications and, employee relations (Breiter & Clements, 1998). According to the same
study by Breiter & Clements (1998), they stated that as educators plan the program curricula
of the future, they must develop ways to prepare students to be innovators of the future while
providing key concepts that industry demands. They predict that excellent human and
conceptual skills will be very important into the 21st century.
Baum (1990), Finegold, Wagner, and Mason (2000) and Jauhari (2006) stressed that hotel
managers should have multiple technical skills. For example, an F&B manager has to make a
decision buying stocks, storing, costing, and processing, to serving food to customers (Riley,
2005). Using multiple technical skills allows an F&B manager to control and manage their
department, and this requirement remains the same in all situations, regardless of size or
quality, be it a grand hotel or formal restaurant. An F&B Manager needs multiple skills in
areas including accounting, human relations, marketing, customer service and communication
in order to effectively manage a department (Riley, 2005). These skills are required by all
department managers if they are to work more effectively and efficiently. Hence, technically
multi-skilled staff will ultimately offer greater value to the company. Jauhari (2006) also
stated that multi-skilling allows a person to manage a large number of tasks at the same time.
Multi-skilling may affect how employees approach a wider arrangement of employment
opportunities. Furthermore, multi-skilling can increase an employees understanding of the
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wider processes involved in different kinds of functional activity (Finegold, Wagner, &
Mason, 2000). Baum (1990) stated, hospitality graduates needs to have multiple skills to
handle the rapidly changing working environment of the hospitality industry. Multi-skilled
employees will be more enterprising and adaptable.

Conceptual Framework

Graduates

Expected
level of
competencie
s

Diploma
holders

Gap

School leavers

Current level
of
competencie
s

Employer
demographics

Hypothesis
H1-there is an association between employers demographic characteristics and level of
competencies of employees

Operationalization
Dimensions
Demographic characteristics of
employers

Level of Employees Competencies

Indicators
Gender
Department of working
Educational qualification
Job position
Years of working in the
industry
Oral communication
Written communication
Leadership ability
Relationship management skills
Adaptability at work
Confidence
Team working skills
Research skills
Creativity
Critical thinking
Decision making
Negotiation skills
Practical skills
Computer skills
Problem solving skills
Legal understanding
Marketing and sales skills
Event management skills
Organizational ability
Industry knowledge
Customer service skills
Attention to details
Relevant work experience

Measures
Multiple choice
questions

5 point likert scale

Academic grades

Methodology
Sample
The sample of this study are 96 employers from twelve hotels which possess three to five star
ratings in Colombo. Sample for this study is selected by stratified random sampling method.
This sample consist with managerial the employers who are working in the four departments
in the hotel.
Data collection

Primary data collection for this study mainly based on self-administered questionnaire for
employers. I supposed to use an adapted questionnaire for this study which used by Jie Wang
in the study of Is tourism education meeting the needs of the tourism industry? An
Australian case study.
Secondary data for this study will be collect from journals, magazines, books, online articles
and websites.

Significance of the study


Tourism is a person-to-person activity, with its quality depending on the education and
motivation of its employees .Thus tourism education is important to improve employees
abilities and consequently promote the tourism industrys capabilities. Tourism education,
often as the starting point in the training and development of human capital to undertake
occupations in the tourism industry, not only adds value, raises personnel quality and infuses
a sense of tourism professionalism. This study intends to investigate if there is a gap between
tourism education provisions and tourism industry needs and expectations in Australia.
Taking into account the industry perceptions about tourism education development, three
major areas will benefit from this study
Tourism higher education
This study will improve the likelihood that hospitality educators, universities provide
employees with the knowledge and skills that are highly regarded by employers and which
contribute to the countrys prosperity and human capital.
Employees in the tourism industry
Information related to employment provided in this study will analyze the expectations of the
tourism industry in regards to necessary knowledge and skills. This information will guide
employees in the tourism industry to improve the skill attributes and knowledge required by
the tourism industry, helping them to improve their employability.
Sri Lankan Economy
In the knowledge-based economy, the rise of knowledge as a major driver of economic
growth and development has extensively influenced the development of education. In the
world of tourism, human capital is also vital to tourism economic growth and competitive
advantage in the tourism industry. This research, will benefit the tourism industry and, in the
long-term, benefit the Sri Lankan tourism economy.
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Time Frame

References
Brotherton,B. (2004). The International Hospitality Industry Structure: Characteristic and
issues. Butter worth, Heinemann.
Hemmington, N. (2007). From service to experience. Service Ind. J., 27(6). Retrieved from
http:/wwweprintsbournemonth.ac.uk/836/hemmington-output 4ppd
Slattery P (2002). Finding the hospitality industry. J. Hosptality Leisure Sport Tourism Educ.,
1(1):1-26 Retrieved from http://www.hlst.itsn.ac.uk/johlste.
William A (2004). Understanding the Hospitality Consumer. Elsevier Butterworth,
Heinemann Oxford.
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Spivack, S. (1997). A consensus model approach for assessing gaps between education
system output and human resource demands in the tourism and hospitality sector to aid in the
attainment of quality service goals. Published DPhil thesis, University of Buckingham,
Buckingham.
Christou, E. (1999). Hospitality management education in Greece: Overview and qualitative
assessment. Tourism Management, 20 (6), 683-691.
Damitio, J. W. (1988). Importance of managerial accounting skills to lodging managers.
Hospitality Education and Research Journal, 12(2), 287-292
Damitio, J. W., & Schmidgall, R. (1991). A comparison of hospitality executives, educators',
and students' views on the importance of accounting skills. International Journal of
Hospitality Management, 10(3), 219-228.
Baum, T. (1990). Competencies for hotel management: Industry expectations of education.
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 2(4), 13-16.
Breiter, Deborah, Clements, Christine J., (1996). Hospitality curricula for the 21st century.
Hospitality & Tourism Educator: Vol. 8. N (1), 57-60.
Hsu, J. F., & Gregory, S. (1995). Developing future hotel managers in Taiwan: From an
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Knutson, B. J., & Patton, M. E. (1992). How prepared am I to succeed in the hospitality
industry? What the students are telling us. Hospitality and Tourism Education, 4(3),38-43
Ladkin, A. (1999). Hotel general managers: A review of prominent research themes.
International Journal of Tourism Research, 1(3), 167-193.
Ley, D. A. (1980). The effective GM: Leader or entrepreneur? The Cornell Hotel and
Restaurant Administrative Quarterly, 21(3), 66-67.
Finegold, D., Wagner, K., & Mason, G. (2000). National skill-creation systems and career
paths for service workers: hotels in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.
International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11(3), 497-516.
Jauhari, V. (2006). Competencies for a career in the hospitality industry: an Indian
perspective. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 18(2), 123-134.

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Riley, M. (2005). Viewpoint food and beverage management: A review of change.


International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 17(1), 88-93
Riley, M., & Turam, K. (1989). The career paths of UK hotel managers: A developmental
approach. Signet Quarterly, 1(1), 1-13

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