Les Roches International School of Hotel Management

The million dollar question: how to retain talent in the Middle East hospitality sector?

17 Jun 2014 | by Les Roches


The United Arab Emirate’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR) has added Les Roches International School of Hotel Management to its global list of recommended higher education institutions in 2013.

Industry watchers in the Middle East say the move is considered significant for the hospitality industry as it helps shift perception of the region as a temporary cash-cow work posting, towards a place where serious, long-term careers can be made.

In 2012, the travel and tourism industry in UAE directly supported 158,500 jobs (4.7 percent of total employment). This is predicted to rise by 4.1 percent a year to 245,000 jobs by 2023 (5.6 percent of total employment).

With sector-level expansion comes increased competition among companies to recruit and retain top talent.  In the UAE, most of workforce is expatriate and spends just a few years in the country before moving on.

So, how do hotels, tour operators and professional conference organisers (PCOs) encourage people to choose to develop careers in the sector and then remain in the country to help the sector grow further? The hospitality sector and the government have been scratching their heads over this one, and different strategies are being devised and implemented, as covered by a recent article in Meet Middle East.com

Golden formula for success

  • Recruit workforce through an international recruitment service
  • Recruit local talent.  In 2014, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, announced plans to double Emiratization over the next seven years. Part of this strategy is to create jobs for the nation’s youth; the events and meetings sector is a natural fit for this target group. As Dubai moves towards hosting the 2020 world cup, industry experts in the UAE hope that the hospitality and events sector will become a more glamorous option
  • Part-time or flexi-time work options, particularly interesting for people who are trailing spouses or who have child-care commitments which mean they cannot commit to full-time work
  • Offer interesting training packages to ensure career development that is more rapid than that offered by the competition
  • As always, salaries, benefits, and an organizational culture that values people

So, what do you think?

Are these the right strategies and incentives for companies to retain hospitality talent in the UAE and the Middle East region? What would make you interested making the UAE a long-term base for your career?

Les Roches


Leave a Reply