Summary

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.

Key facts:

  • Around 4.2 million people were employed as hospitality and retail managers in 2018. Employment in the occupation grew by just over 3 per cent between 2006 and 2018.
  • Employment is projected to grow by 10 per cent over the period 2018 to 2030 – an increase of around 410,000 jobs. But this does not reflect the true level of future employment demand.
  • There will be a need to replace those who will leave the occupation for one reason or another – which is expected to be around 2.7 million over the period 2018 and 2030.  This means that over the same period there will be a need to fill around 3 million job openings. 
  • In the workplace, autonomy, creativity and resolution and service and attend are the most important tasks and skills of hospitality and retail managers.
  • These managers are mainly employed in wholesale and retail trade (around 35%) and accommodation and catering (around 32%).
  • The qualifications profile is not expected to change much in the future.  In 2018, 22 per cent had low level qualifications and this expected to fall to 18 per cent in 2030.  The corresponding figure for those with high level qualifications stood at 43 per cent, in 2018, and is expected to decrease to 41 per cent in 2030.  Some growth in those with high level qualification is expected – from 35 per cent being so qualified in 2018 to 41 per cent in 2030. 

Tasks and skills

In accommodation, hospitality, retail and other services industries companies are run by specialised managers, who plan, organise and direct the operations of these companies. These managers[1] 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.

According to Eurofound's Job Monitor, autonomy, creativity and resolution and service and attend are the most important tasks and skills of hospitality and retail managers.

Figure 1: Importance of tasks for hospitality & retail managers

Note: The importance of tasks and skills is measured on 0-1 scale, where 0 means least important and 1 means most important.

The employment level of hospitality and retail managers is expected to grow by 10 per cent between 2018 and 2030, a further increase following the 3 per cent growth over the period 2006 to 2018.  Between 2018 and 2030 a projected 410,000 new jobs will be created. However, this job growth shall take place in only 6 EU countries; in most of EU Member States the employment of hospitality and retail managers will decline.

Figure 2: Future employment growth of hospitality & retail managers across the EU (2018-2030, in %)

Alongside the need to fill the new jobs which will be created is that of replacing people who are expected to leave the occupation between 2018 and 2030.  This is projected to be 2.7 million. By adding this to the number of new job openings, it is apparent that around 3 million job openings will need to be filled between 2018 and 2030.

Figure 3: Future job openings of hospitality & retail managers (2018-2030)

These managers are mainly employed in wholesale and retail trade and accommodation and catering. The employment projections paint two different pictures for managers in these sectors: in wholesale and retail trade employment is projected to fall, while in accommodation and catering, employment is projected to increase. Aside from these core sectors, employment of the occupational group is projected to grow significantly in a number of sectors such as administrative and support services and real estate activities.

The qualifications profile is not expected to change much in the future.  With regards to education level, in 2018, 22 per cent had low level qualifications and this expected to fall to 18 per cent in 2030.  The corresponding figures for those with high level qualifications stood at 43 per cent in 2018 and will slightly decrease to 41 per cent in 2030.  Some growth in those with high level qualification is expected – from 35 per cent being so qualified in 2018 to 41 per cent in 2030.

More information on employment trends for this occupation can be found on the Skills Panorama, here.

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

  • Risk of automation: As a part of its Digitalization and future of work project, Cedefop estimates the risks of automation for occupations. The most exposed occupations are those with significant share of tasks that can be automated – operation of specialised technical equipment, routine or non-autonomous tasks – and those with a small reliance on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and customer-serving skills. The risk of automation is further accentuated in occupations where employees report little access to professional training that could help them to cope with labour market changes. Hospitality and retail managers are reportedly an occupation with very low risk of automation.

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

[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