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More Bahrainis join hospitality industry

Manama, August 31, 2014

The number of Bahrainis working in the hospitality industry has increased by around four per cent in the last eight months, a report said.

Latest figures show that 1,901 Bahrainis were employed in hotels last year, which has increased to 1,978 of a total of 11,943 so far this year, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The increase has been attributed to programmes being conducted by the Specific Council for Training in Hospitality, which include training job seekers, providing proper qualifications for university graduates and developing skills of those already working in the sector.

However, the council's executive director Ali Sulaibeekh said more needed to be done to attract Bahrainis to jobs in different departments including sales, human resources, restaurants and housekeeping.

"The society's negative perspective of the hospitality sector is often related to cultural and religious principles and beliefs, which need a lot of effort to be changed," he told the GDN.

"The council has joined forces with the Labour Ministry to provide a wide range of opportunities that can appeal to Bahrainis, including jobs in sales managing, health clubs and human resources.

"The reluctance of some, especially those who are under-qualified, makes me wonder as there are many jobs that don't necessarily need high qualifications.

"Departments like food and beverages, housekeeping, health clubs and stewarding only require basic skills and a good attitude. I can say that the two main keys for success in this sector are willingness and the right behaviour."

Mr Sulaibeekh admitted that part of the problem was low salaries and lack of career growth at the hotels.

"Despite the importance of training programmes that contribute to the development and rehabilitation of the employees, some improvements should take place in terms of wages, career planning and job evaluation, as well as other benefits that should be provided to them," he stressed.

"To sum it up, the industry is facing socio-cultural obstacles due to how the society envisions the career, as well as economic hold-backs related to low wages.

"There has been no vocational planning that can help the employees improve and enhance their skills and levels, which can later help them get promoted. A fair evaluation system is also needed as well as the provision of additional benefits and advantages."

Meanwhile, two 24-year-old Bahrainis, who have completed a bachelor's degree in hotel and hospitality management, said it was crucial to educate young locals about the industry.

Abdulla Al Shehab and Khaled Abdulrahman, who signed up for the council's 'university graduates qualifying programme' and studied at the Business and Hotel Management School in Lucerne, Switzerland, now work for the Gulf Hotel and the Ritz Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa respectively.

"I am very grateful to my country for giving me this wonderful opportunity and I don't really have an idea why Bahrainis avoid working in the hospitality industry," said Abdulrahman.

"Hospitality is about much more than being a waiter or a waitress and you can specialise in many different areas such as culinary arts, human resources, marketing and spa management or as in my case front office management.

"I hope that my experience will encourage others to do the same because I had the best time of my life studying, and the career aspect is beautiful with lots of surprises and no chances of boredom, as no day is the same for me at work now." – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: hospitality | Bahrainis | Bahrainisation |

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