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On the road to consensus: key soft skills required for youth employment in the service sector

Anjana Singh (School of Hospitality and Tourism, Vedatya Institute, Gurgaon, Haryana, India)
Prashanti Jaykumar (School of Hospitality and Tourism, Vedatya Institute, Gurgaon, Haryana, India)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 11 February 2019

3367

Abstract

Purpose

Tourism and hospitality is one of the fastest growing segments of the services industry in India, and there is tremendous need and opportunity for young, educated and qualified professionals. Academics and employers agree that there is an increasing gap between the soft skills that companies expect from their entry-level employees and the skills that these young people possess. To bridge this gap, industry leaders and researchers indicate the need for more soft skills training. The purpose of this paper is to identify soft skills competencies that are required for a diverse group of entry-level employees and then to identify gaps by exploring the hospitality programme and internships.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is analytical in nature and draws on a literature review and a questionnaire as a survey tool for stakeholders. The research had separate questionnaires for employers, students and faculty members of the Vedatya Institute, educator for the service industry. The research is focused on entry-level employees – students who had graduated from Vedatya Institute in the past five years. The employers are primarily general managers and human resource managers of five-star hotels who have recruited and been part of campus interviews.

Findings

The research analysed soft or employability skills for the hospitality industry, and it provided valuable insights from employers and perceptions of graduates in attainment of those skills during their degree programme. The study highlighted the significant role of internship in developing soft skills.

Practical implications

The paper recommends practical solutions for educators and organizations that can be applied. The research synthesized current thinking on required soft skills for young entry-level employees and explores the soft skills gap in the context of a growing soft skills training market with recommendation for stakeholders.

Originality/value

The research sought to address the real life problem impacting the hospitality industry in India using inputs from the literature, graduates and employers.

Keywords

Citation

Singh, A. and Jaykumar, P. (2019), "On the road to consensus: key soft skills required for youth employment in the service sector", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 10-24. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-10-2018-0066

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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