Summary

Hospitality, retail and other services managers usually manage establishments that provide services directly to the public, in organizations that are too small to have hierarchies in management.

Key facts:

  • Hospitality, retail and other services managers usually manage establishments that provide services directly to the public, in organizations that are too small to have hierarchies in management.
  • The five key skills required for these managers are planning, problem solving, communication, customer service and teamwork.
  • They are a shortage occupation in five EU Member States and a surplus one in two EU countries.
  • Employment of hospitality, retail and other services managers remained unchanged between 2005 and 2015. Over the next decade, small employment growth is expected.
  • These managers are mainly employed in wholesale and retail trade (around 35%) and accommodation and catering (around 32%).
  • Replacement demand will account for almost 9 out of 10 of the projected number of new jobs over the forecast period.
  • While almost half of these managers held medium-level qualifications by 2015, the balance is expected to shift in favour of the highly qualified ones by 2025

Who are they?[1]

In accommodation, hospitality, retail and other services industries companies are run by specialised managers, who plan, organise and direct the operations of these companies. Hospitality, retail and other services managers typically perform tasks including: planning and organising events; promoting and selling goods and services; ensuring compliance with laws and regulations; organising transportation of goods; and controlling the selection, training and supervision of staff.

Employees in this group can be classified into three sub-occupations: hotel and restaurant managers; retail and wholesale trade managers and managers of other services which include sports, recreation and cultural services.

What skills do they need?

According to Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey (ESJS), the key 5 skills for these managers are planning, problem solving, communication, customer service and teamwork. These skills could support employees in this occupation to also tackle anticipated future skill challenges (see drivers of change below).

Figure 1: Most important skills required for hospitality, retail and other services managers

Where are they mostly in demand?

The labour market dynamics for this occupation differ across EU Member States:

Figure 2: Shortages and surpluses for hospitality, retail and other services managers across the EU

According to Cedefop, a shortage of hospitality, retail and other services managers appears in Spain, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland; on the other hand the supply for this occupation seems to exceed the demand in Hungary. In Romania there is a predisposition for shortage of hotel and restaurants managers and for surplus of retails and wholesale trade managers.

Employment of hospitality, retail and other services managers remained unchanged between 2005 and 2015. Over the next decade, small employment growth is expected. With modest new job openings, replacement demand will account for almost 9 out of 10 of the projected number of new jobs over the forecast period.

These managers are mainly employed in wholesale and retail trade (around 35%) and accommodation and catering (around 32%). The employment projections paint two different pictures for managers in these sectors: in wholesale and retail trade employment is projected to fall by around 7% over 2015 to 2025, while in accommodation and catering, employment is projected to increase by 7%. Aside from these core sectors, employment of the occupational group is projected to grow significantly in a number of sectors that however employ up to 10% of these managers (such as administrative and support services and real estate activities).

While almost half of these managers held medium-level qualifications by 2015, the balance is expected to shift in favour of the highly qualified ones by 2025, when 80% of the workforce will be equally divided between the two groups of qualifications.

Which drivers of change will affect their skills?

Hospitality, retail and other services managers usually manage establishments that provide services directly to the public, in organizations that are too small to have hierarchies in management. As such, there is a need for a more general, public-facing skillset in these occupations compared to managers in more specialised and technical sectors. Nevertheless, the share of highly qualified workers in this occupational group is projected to increase. The drivers of change that will shape the key trends in skills in the occupation will include the following:

  • Managing a new generation of workers with different demands and expectations is a key driver of change. Young people have grown up in a hyper-connected world, raising their expectations of faster and more readily available communication with higher level staff. They also value the blending of their work and personal lives. Managers will have to deal with increased demands for flexibility; build effective communication networks between staff and management, and require mid-level managers to invest time in improving their mentorship to new recruits.
  • Ageing populations across the EU already pose recruitment challenges to managers. For example, in the UK, the wholesale and retail sector, and the accommodation and catering sector, are especially vulnerable to the ageing population as they rely largely on younger workers[3] – a group that is in decline as a proportion of the total population. A shortage of younger workers will require managers to have the skills to find new ways to attract workers of different ages. Furthermore, as experienced managers retire there may be skills deficiencies in management roles themselves. In retail for example, many managers have progressed from shop floor sales roles.
  • Technological change already reshapes job profiles and skill requirements in the sectors in which hospitality, retail and other services managers operate. For example, in the retail sector, self-service checkouts have replaced cashier jobs, and created new roles for assisting customers to use such machines. Managers will have to keep track of how this impacts on the resource and training requirements of their business. Advanced skills in data management, critical analysis, web and other tech-related subjects, as well as strategic planning, are under-developed or missing in some cases [4], while they will be essentials for managers in these sectors.
  • The increase in the operation of firms through different channels, such as e-commerce/e-booking and marketing will place new demands on managers in hospitality, retail and other services [5]. A key requirement will be to have the skills to manage customer requests through these new channels, and also to deliver training and upskill staff, especially given the need for customer service/sales assistants to have current knowledge of the firm’s online and offline offers and those of its competitors.
  • Evolving legal and regulatory frameworks demand that managers have a good understanding of laws and regulations and are able to work within such frameworks, such as labour regulations and food hygiene and care. For example, Europe’s labour market has liberalized significantly in the last ten years, and this has resulted in a huge increase in temporary work contracts in industries such as retail and wholesale and accommodation and catering  [6][7]. This will pose new tasks for managers to effectively lead their teams under conditions of strong job turnover.

‘In some countries, employers’ associations actively promote vocational training for high-skilled positions, especially managerial ones. For instance, the initiatives of the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council adopt a wide spectrum of training measures aimed at promoting career opportunities in the retail sector. The apprenticeship programme “Retail Store Apprentice”, targeted at students in secondary education, is one approach that seeks to cover strategic sectoral skills’ needs.’

Source: ILO (2015), Employment relationships in retail commerce and their impact on decent work and competitiveness

How can these skill needs be met?

Responses to skill challenges can come from within companies, governments or employers’ associations. Where possible, companies should aim to address skill gaps by training current staff, but companies may also have to look to recruitment in order to address internal skills gaps.

Potential candidates for management positions within companies need to be identified at an early stage and entered into a suitable development programme, especially when many junior staff operates in low-skilled sales roles. [8]. Development of core management and leadership skills requires some basic management training, which can be in-house or external. Such skills can also be learnt on the job, and thus improved by a mentoring or job-shadowing system.

Pertinent national authorities can also have a role in the development of management skills, by providing funding to support SMEs [9]. Entrepreneurial skills are also important for managers, especially in small or even micro establishments. SMEs need support particularly with regard to emergent skill needs as they often lack the resources to train staff. With regard to the ageing workforce of shop owners/managers, training regarding the transfer of management functions to successors is essential and should be designed and provided alongside a strengthening of human resource management [10].

Besides core management and leadership training, firms must also provide training for management on relevant technological developments in their sector.

 

References

[1] Defined as ILO ISCO 08 group hospitality, retail and other services managers. ILO (2012) International Standard Classification of Occupations ISCO-08. More information on the occupation can be found here.

[2] 2016 Cedefop forecast

[3] UK Commission for Employment and Skills 2015, Sector insights: skills and performance challenges in the retail sector

[4] Ibid.

[5] European Sector Skills Council for Commerce 2014, Annual Report 2014 – Employment and Skills

[6] ILO 2015, Employment relationships in retail commerce and their impact on decent work and competitiveness

[7] ILO 2010, Developments and challenges in the hospitality and tourism sector

[8] BIS 2012, Leadership & Management in the UK – The Key to Sustainable Growth

[9] Ibid.

[10] European Commission 2009, Investing in the Future of Jobs and Skills – Distribution and Trade