By Macharia Kamau
Growth in the hospitality industry has created demand for professionals, pushing up the wage bill for hotels that now have to fight to retain staff.
It is also a strain for training institutions that have to increase the number of professionals despite inadequate capacity.
The industry has in the recent years posted higher growth margins, creating more jobs . There are several hotel chains – local and international – that have also embarked on developing local facilities, some of which are slated for opening next year.
Kenneth Obongi, principal Kenya Utalii College, noted that while the growth was good for tourism industry and the economy, it would mean an increased demand for staff, which would put a strain on training institutions. There are few institutions with high quality hospitality training.
“There are many hotels and other hospitality facilities that are opening in Kenya and the region that will need staffing, which points to opportunities for trained professionals,” said Obongi.
Karl Hala, the general manager Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, said opening of new facilities would increase the war for talent.
He added that this was not limited to the country, giving an example of the Intercontinental Hotels Group that expects to open facilities across Middle East and Africa that would require up to 20,000 new staff.
“Over the long term, we will need 20 000 new staff to work in our facilities across Africa and the Middle East. In Africa, we will have eight new facilities over the next two to five years and we will need to recruit about 8,000 people to work in these facilities,” he said.
They spoke Friday when the Inter-Continental Hotel signed a memorandum with Utalii College to partner in training programmes that address the shortage of trained professionals.
“Our association with Utalii College will help us overcome the war of talent and enable us develop leading practices,” said Hala.
The hotel will take between 10 to 15 students from the college for internships.