Does the hospitality industry need or deserve talent?

Baum, Tom (2019) Does the hospitality industry need or deserve talent? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 31 (10). pp. 3823-3837. ISSN 0959-6119 (

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Purpose: This paper aims to confront the most challenging issues that the hospitality industry faces. This relates to the recruitment and retention of talented future leaders. This is a long-standing issue but one that is increasing in importance as industry changes, combined with external pressures within the labour market (demographic and competitive), act to restructure the recruitment landscape in many countries. Design/methodology/approach: This paper provides a literature-based analysis that addresses two key questions relating to the hospitality industry and talent – does the sector need talent and, controversially, does it deserve talent? The literature has been addressed on the basis of the author’s in-depth knowledge and the use of a wide range of pertinent search terms relating to the core themes of hospitality and talent management. Findings: The paper assesses evidence with respect to both questions, framed as propositions, and concludes that the current talent pipelines, upon which hospitality substantially depends, may not be fit for purpose, and that the wider workplace culture within hospitality is not compatible with the attraction of the best into the industry. Research limitations/implications: The paper challenges the established practice, both within the hospitality industry, in terms of its workplace environment, and in the way its educational partners (hospitality management schools) prepare young people for the industry. The outcomes of the analysis do not provide much by way of succour to either. Practical implications: Implicit in this paper is a call to key stakeholders (industry and education) in the search for future leaders of the hospitality industry to address and review both the industry workplace, to make it more attractive and rewarding for young graduates, and the educational model that still dominates hospitality management programmes in preparing them for careers. Social implications: Careers in hospitality will remain “Cinderella” options for young graduates until action is taken by stakeholders to reposition the nature of the careers on offer and the focus of the programmes available in preparation for them. Originality/value: The approach taken is the presentation of widely recognised themes in an original format.