The hospitality environment is a demanding industry that not only requires passion and motivation at each level of the organisation but also leaders that support, guide and nurture its employees. Support, guide and nurture – three words that are more commonly associated with women and their style of management than their male counterparts. So why then are there less women in top positions in the industry than men?
According to Julia Campbell, founder of Women in Hospitality (WOHO), in 2017, the hospitality sector workforce was composed of 55.5% of women but still dominated by men in managerial positions. Another study, undertaken in 2019, found that only 11% of hotel company leadership positions (managing director, president, partner, CEO) were held by females.
The hospitality industry clearly needs more women in senior managerial positions, a viewpoint strongly shared by Nadia Barnard, principal of the Rosebank, Johannesburg, campus of The Private Hotel School (a second campus is located in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape).
Says Barnard: “Generally women tend to do better in senior roles in hospitality than men. This is due to their interpersonal skills, determination, patience, less aggressive behaviour and the capacity to recognise their mistakes and apologise.
“Furthermore, female leaders can provide a more accommodating and nurturing environment. They tend to listen to their co-workers, respect different points of view, find solutions to given problems and support their staff in a closer way than male managers. They are also more encouraging of cooperation and teamwork, delegate more and tend to be more patient than male counterparts.”
This, Barnard believes, should serve as encouragement for more women to enter the hospitality industry so that there is a more equal balance of men and women in the workplace in general and in senior positions in particular.
“We are not at all inferring that women replace men in the industry,” says Barnard, “we ‘re just looking at levelling the playing field.”
The Private Hotel School is moving away from the culinary side of the business (and leaving that up to its sister institution, Capsicum Culinary Studio) and focusing more on the management side of the business.
Barnard answers some questions:
So what courses does The Private Hotel School offer that will train and prepare all its students for top roles in the industry?
The Private Hotel School offers a selection of study-options for dynamic and enthusiastics young men and women. The selection of full time and distance learning programmes make it accessible for any level of employee wishing to excel in the business of hospitality. The Private Hotel School has a qualification for anyone who wishes to enter the hospitality industry with the Higher Certificate in Hospitality Management, which provides successful candidates the opportunity to enter the world of hospitality with a range of interpersonal skills and a brief overview of the various departments in the traditional hospitality business. For someone who wishes to delve deeper into the business of hospitality, there is the Advanced Certificate in Hospitality Management which offers insight into Entrepreneurship, Leadership Development and Lodging Management as some of its core modules. For those who wish to futher their careers and expand their knowledge, there is a selection of programmes offered via distance learning and online learning options.
What positions can be achieved within five years of graduation?
The nature of hospitality is, in its essence, customer-service orientated. Graduates typically start out in a hospitality establishment, but an increase in demand for well-rounded customer-orientated positions are found in the financial sector and other corporate entities. Imagine the Corporate Client Liaison for a multi-national corporation or being the Operations Manager for Ocean Cay, an artificial island in the Bahamas. A variety of options are available to hospitality graduates. It all depends on the kind of person and the “skilful service with a smile”.
Do you believe there is a difference in hospitality management style between men and women?
I have previously worked in organisations which were headed by male and female superiors. I think the difference is not in the gender of the person you are reporting to, it is in their strength to guide, mentor and lead. You would expect a bunch of women to sit and have “tea parties” but in my opinion, I have never been part of a team of colleagues who are equally as passionate and driven as we are, not excluding our male counterparts, regardless of gender or background. It only enhances the culture in the business to succeed and deliver students to the industry who are worth their salt.
What are the rewards of working in the hospitality industry and why should potential students consider The Private Hotel School over others?
The rewards outweight the long shifts, difficult clients, and hard work. The intrinsic need to serve others and provide them with a wonderful experience which result in returning guests or clients (and revenue), makes hospitality the core of any business. Rewards are personal and whatever your drive is, you will have a place in the hospitality industry – from ensuring a business is profitable (Financial Controller) to creating beautiful images and inviting messages which sells the business (Hospitality Sales), to the traditional operational hospitality careers in the kitchen, front of house and back of house. There is a myriad of rewards in whatever space you will find yourself in a hospitality business.