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Competency needs in Irish hotels: employer and graduate perspectives

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this study is to investigate hotel industry employers' expectations of, and satisfaction with, graduate competencies in comparison with graduate perceptions of what is required for their roles and their satisfaction with how well their education experience prepared them. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The research involved a questionnaire survey of 41 employers and 33 graduates in the Irish hotel sector, supplemented by a series of interviews. This sector was chosen because it represents the main destination of graduates who specialise in hospitality and tourism management. Findings ‐ The competencies consistently regarded as important across both samples related to interpersonal and professional knowledge skill domains. However, a number of gaps were evident with regard to satisfaction with how the education experience prepared graduates for careers in the industry. Research limitations/implications ‐ The study was confined to graduate and employer views on hospitality and tourism management education in Ireland. Its findings would benefit from a future comparative analysis including generic business graduates, as well as support from different national contexts. Practical implications ‐ The findings highlight the need for greater collaboration and partnership between the industry and education providers in preparing students to meet the needs of the hotel industry. In particular, the focus of the curriculum and the pedagogical approaches used need to be reviewed to ensure closer alignment. Originality/value ‐ The research focuses not only on the critical competencies needed by hotel managers but also on the level of satisfaction experienced by both graduate and employer samples.
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Keywords: Competences; Employers; Graduates; Hospitality services; Hotels; Ireland

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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