With star-rated hotels mushrooming across China, the hunt is on for a good supply of managers to ensure guests may enjoy a comfortable stay.
According to statistics from China Business News, China has nearly 10,000 star-rated hotels but is lacking in senior management staff.
"Luxury hotels have been expanding at a surprising rate in recent years," said Zhao Huanyan, a manager with the Shanghai Jinjiang International Group. "It is quite often the case that several hotels open in the same business area within a few months."
Zhao said the rapid expansion had meant an acute shortfall of manpower, especially middle and senior executives.
Tao Yue, public relations manager of InterContinental Hotels Group's Greater China division, said an abundance of opportunities had resulted in little loyalty as staff frequently job-hopped around the industry.
"A person with two or three years experience in hotels is hot property," Tao said. "It is not surprising that a luxury hotel in Shanghai will be unable to recruit a chief chef with an annual salary of 100,000 yuan (US$12,500)."
"The shortfall of trained manpower in the hotel industry is a result of a relatively backward professional education system in China," said Liu Dingjun, associate professor with Nankai University's Department of Tourism. "University students majoring in tourism management nowadays receive insufficient professional education," Liu said.
Liu said his department, for example, has cancelled some tourism-related courses due to stiff curricular requirements by the Ministry of Education.
"Courses offered to tourism majors are made too general and theoretical, without enough education and training on the fundamentals of the industry," Liu said.
Liu said China's hotel industry will face numerous challenges, as the number of star-rated hotels could well double over the next decade.
China at present has over 300,000 hotel management professionals, but less than 10 per cent are actually qualified.
"Good senior hotel managers should have the spirit of serving people," said Ning, the marketing manager of Beijing's five-star Marriot Hotel West. "They are expected to have high moral standards as well as professional skills."
Ning said successful senior hotel managers are mostly steady workers, accumulating rich experience on their way up the chain of command.
(China Daily November 29, 2006)