ACI HR Solutions CEO, Andrew Chan has called on his travel industry peers to urgently unite and combine resources in order to establish a ‘think tank’ needed to find the constructive ways aimed at attracting and retaining the next generation of management required to take the industry into the future.
Addressing delegates attending the Hotel Management Singapore Summit at ITB Asia, Mr Chan said unless the sector takes action now and implements the systems it needs to attract what he called “tomorrow’s management”, it will continue to suffer against other industries.
Those industries, he said, are viewed as having the capacity to offer higher wages and other benefits and especially swift career advancement by the Gen Y demographic – and this perception needs to be changed and quickly.
“Gen Y is the most educated generation in history, it represents the future for our industry,” he said.
“If we are to attract them, now is the time for companies to stop worrying about the competition and put their heads together in a collaborative way to establish the strategies required to bring the Gen Y’ers into the tourism and hospitality fold.
“The key to attracting Gen Y’ers in the first place is to understand them. They don’t understand or care for the paradigm that has set the standard for generations before them – ‘work hard and you will be rewarded’.
“Their paradigm – ‘reward me now and I will work hard’ and it’s something we as that previous generation have to accept as the way forward.
“We have to understand that for them career planning is all about vertical growth and developing a range of marketable skills that they can take with them from job to job.
“And here in lies our quandary – while we need to match their increasing salary and career ambitions, we also need to keep them engaged in order to retain them, otherwise they will soon be gone.
“It is important to remember that Gen Y’ers accept a job because they want to, not because they have to and they need to be constantly learning.
“But they also get bored very easily so it is vital that we, collaboratively, are able to implement the systems we need to motivate, engage and ultimately, retain these people as tomorrow’s management.
“The danger is that if we don’t, we will continue to suffer especially against other industries with the capacity to offer higher wages and career opportunities along with other benefits.
“Addressing the employee attachment factor, letting Gen Y’ers know that there are now huge career opportunities at all levels of business within our industry along with related financial gain – and keeping them engaged – is now critical if we as a sector are to succeed in attracting and ultimately, holding on to the very people who will drive our businesses and our very industry into the future.”