Hospitality isn't just a job - it's a career, with a myriad of opportunities for graduates.

Getting a qualification in hospitality management can take you in many different directions. This is because career options in hospitality cover a range of different sectors and develop a broad range of skills. Whether you want to work front-of-house involving a lot of customer interaction, as a Hotel General Manager, or back-of-house as an Executive Chef, hospitality can get you there.

Hospitality careers equip you with valuable life skills you can take with you to any industry, but you are especially attractive to the rapidly growing service sectors.

Not only that, but a qualification and experience in hospitality can teach you valuable life skills you can take with you to any industry. You'll gain a transferable skillset that will make you more employable anywhere in the world, not only in hospitality but also the service professions. In Australia, the industry is growing exponentially. Restaurant & Catering Australia's chief executive Julia Payne told Good Food that hospitality is likely to see the greatest jobs growth in the near future.

So, without further ado, let's examine some career paths for hospitality graduates in Australia!

Careers in the hotel and tourism sector

Australia's tourism sector is booming, which is great news for graduates wanting to enter the industry. In fact, the Australian Hotels Association found that during 2015-2016:

  • There was a 10 per cent increase in international visitors to the Land Down Under.
  • Overnight business trips increased by 11 per cent.
  • Domestic leisure grew by 9 per cent.
  • 35 hotels and 4,000 rooms were built.

What's more, 70 hotels and 15,000 rooms are under construction or likely to be completed by 2020.

Sydney is the gateway to the Australian Tourism Industry
Australia's tourism industry is booming, and by pursuing a career in hospitality, you can reap the rewards. Sydney is the gateway to the Australian tourism industry.

There's clearly plenty of opportunity for those wanting to enter the tourism industry in any one of Australia's hotels, resorts or clubs. Let's take a look at a few top careers in these areas – and pathways that can help you get there. 

Hotel General Manager

What does being a Hotel General Manager involve?

Hotels and other accommodation facilities (such as motels or resorts) generally have management-level positions for different departments, such as food and beverage, housekeeping, guest services and front desk. The General Manager oversees all of these departments and ensures everything runs to plan. This is a broad management role for someone who enjoys being challenged and having a varied range of tasks. You'll be responsible for a variety of areas, including operations, supervising staff, budgets, finances and recruitment.

Depending on the size of the hotel, motel or resort you manage, you might spend most of your time behind the scenes dealing with the operations side of things, or you may be dealing directly with your guests.

What's the expected salary for Hotel General Manager career path in Australia?

  • Graduate starting salary $47,500
  • Operations Manager $65,000 
  • Department Manager salary $85,000
  • Senior Hotel Executive $100,000 to $150,000 

What skills will you develop as a Hotel General Manager?

You'll develop a range of practical competencies and valuable life skills in a role as Hotel General Manager, including:

  • Customer service and people skills
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Operations management
  • Human resources
  • Recruiting and training staff
  • Budgeting and managing finances

Pathways to becoming a Hotel General Manager

Got your heart set on becoming the manager of a hotel, motel or resort? The best way of reaching these positions is by starting out in one of the following positions: 

  • Receptionist/clerical assistant
  • Front desk supervisor
  • Housekeeping supervisor
  • Porter/door person
  • Valet
  • Concierge
  • Cloakroom assistant
  • Hotel restaurant supervisor
  • Hotel bar supervisor
blaIf you'd like to manage your own hotel one day, starting out as a receptionist or concierge could be a great way to get a foot in the door and work your way up. 

At Kenvale College, you work in the industry at the same time as you're studying, so you'll gain experience in hospitality roles such as these before you've even graduated. By the time you do graduate, you've gained valuable industry experience and already moved along your career path, which will make you attractive to Australian and international hospitality employers. 

Careers in the clubs sector

There are approximately 6,500 clubs across Australia, serving the community through sports, entertainment and other recreational activities. According to Clubs Australia, the Australian clubs industry:

  • Employs 172,000 people Australia-wide.
  • Makes a socio-economic contribution of almost $10 billion every year.
  • Is made up of:
    • Sporting and recreation clubs (24 per cent)
    • Golf clubs (17 per cent)
    • Bowling clubs (24 per cent)
    • RSLs (15 per cent)
    • Cultural and religious clubs (4 per cent)
    • Community and workers clubs (4 per cent)

Club Manager

What does being a Club Manager involve?

A club is a venue licensed to serve food and alcohol that may also offer sports events, gambling and other kinds of entertainment. Club Managers handle all the administration and management of a club. As such, the role is a multi-faceted one that requires handling everything from financial management and marketing to fundraising, business planning and memberships.

To succeed in this role, you'll need to be incredibly organised, manage stress well, have great people skills and be able to multi-task across a diverse range of areas. Club Managers also require a sound knowledge of the laws and regulations under which their club operates. 

You'll need to have several clubs in your arsenal when you work as a Club Manager - from budgeting and financial know-how, to marketing and business operations. You'll need to have several clubs in your golf cart when you work as a Club Manager – from budgeting and financial know-how, to media relations and business operations skills.

What's the expected salary for Club Managers in Australia?

  • Operations Manager salary $55,500
  • Average salary $72,000
  • Large Club Manager $100,000 plus bonuses

What skills will you develop as a Club Manager?

You'll gain a rounded skillset when you work as a Club Manager, developing competencies and acquiring valuable life skills such as: 

  • Time management
  • Organisation 
  • People management
  • Communication
  • Customer service and people skills
  • Human resources
  • Recruiting and training new staff
  • Budgeting and finances
  • Media relations
  • Business operations

Pathways to becoming a Club Manager

Is becoming a Club Manager your idea of a dream job? Experience in the industry is key to getting to this position. Start out in a position such as:

  • Restaurant service staff
  • Bar
  • Receptionist/clerical assistant
  • Front desk 
  • Cloakroom assistant
  • TAB attendant
  • Gaming supervisor

At Kenvale College, you'll work and study at the same time, giving you a valuable leg up on others looking to enter the clubs industry. At Kenvale you can choose where you want to start while studying.

Careers in the commercial cookery sector

With Australia's stellar reputation for award-winning fusion cuisine and our wealth of celebrity chefs, commercial cookery is fast becoming an attractive sector for hospitality graduates wanting to become the next Poh Ling Yeow, Adam Liaw or Marion Grasby.

The popularity of shows such as My Kitchen Rules and MasterChef have cemented Australian food culture in the hearts and minds of Aussies, and as a result, the sector is growing. However, it can't keep up! New dining options are opening left, right and centre, and there aren't enough qualified people with the skills to fill the positions.

blaAustralia's commercial cookery sector is growing, and employers are looking for qualified staff to fill the skills shortage. 

Executive Chef

What does being an Executive Chef involve?

To work as an Executive Chef, you truly need to love what you do. As well-known chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan told Good Food, "the hours aren't great, it's not sociable, the money's perhaps not where it needs to be, it's really a lot of hard work." But if you're passionate about food, you could see yourself running your own kitchen, designing menus and passing on your cookery know-how to up-and-coming chefs.

Executive Chefs can work in a range of different places, including hotels, resorts, restaurants, cafes, or cruise ships.

What's the expected salary for chefs in Australia?

  • Starting salary $55,000
  • Average salary $75,000
  • Executive salary $100,000 

What skills will you develop as an Executive Chef?

You'll gain a host of useful and transferable skills from running your own kitchen, including:

  • Time management and organisation
  • People skills
  • Communication 
  • Stress management
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity 
  • Attention to detail
  • Cost management

Pathways to becoming an Executive Chef

You won't step into the shoes of an Executive Chef upon graduating from your hospitality management course – it will take time and dedication to the industry. Starting out back-of-house as a kitchen hand is a good way to whet your appetite for commercial cookery and show what you're made of. After you've proven your worth, you can work your way up from prep chef, to station chef (sometimes called demi chefs) to Chef de Partie, who is assigned one particular menu specialty in which he or she excels, then become a sous chef. Eventually, you'll have the cred and experience to run an entire kitchen and be the Executive Chef!

You won't become an Executive Chef overnight, but you can work your way up. 

Here are some roles you can think about if your long-term career goal is to be an Executive Chef: 

  • Kitchen hand
  • Cook
  • Chef de partie
  • Chef
  • Sous chef
  • Patissier

Careers in the food and beverage industry

Australia's restaurants are a $20 billion sector, while cafes and coffee shops contribute $8 billion to the national economy. Our cuisine takes inspiration from the many cultural groups that have shaped contemporary Australian society, and our growing foodie culture has made this industry a highly popular and competitive one.

Cafes and coffee shops ... Cafes and coffee shops contribute $8 billion to the Australian economy, but that's nothing compared to the restaurant sector, which is worth a whopping $20 billion.   

Revenue from the restaurant sector is predicted to increase annually by 3.5 per cent up until 2018, while revenue from cafes and coffee shops is expected to increase at an even more rapid rate (4.8 per cent annually). We spend over $14 billion a year on alcohol, according to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). ASIC also reveals that the average Aussie spends $32 a week eating out at restaurants – more than they spend on household appliances, personal care and their mobile phones.

So, there's plenty of opportunity in this sector! Let's explore some of the careers and career paths you can take.

Restaurant/Cafe Manager

What does being a Restaurant/Cafe Manager involve?

As a cafe or restaurant manager, you'll be responsible for the day-to-day operations of your establishment, including the training and management of staff, compliance with legal and health and safety regulations, budgeting and managing supplies. You may also be required to jump in on short notice and serve customers when you're under-staffed.

You'll likely work long hours and be on your feet for most of the day, so this job suits people who are truly passionate about food and love dealing with people.

What's the expected salary for Restaurant/Cafe Managers in Australia?

  • Starting salary $47,500
  • Average salary $70,500
  • Top-end salary $100,000

What skills will you develop as a Restaurant/Cafe Manager?

Some of the valuable skills you'll develop as a cafe or restaurant manager include:

  • People skills
  • Multi-tasking
  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving
  • Business operations
  • Budgeting and managing finances
  • Recruiting, training and supervising staff
  • Customer service skills
  • Marketing and media relations
blaWorking as a restaurant or cafe manager involves long hours, but if you're passionate about food and service, you'll be set. 

Bar Manager

What does being a Bar Manager involve?

Bar Managers are responsible for overseeing the operations of venues specialising in serving alcohol to customers. You'll be working long hours – mainly at night – and be on your feet and required to deal with unruly patrons from time to time. Therefore, it's vital you're able to keep a level head and maintain consistent energy throughout your shift.

This role suits someone passionate about concocting drinks and serving people, who also wants to manage the day-to-day running of the establishment. Your responsibilities will range from managing finances and marketing, training new staff to designing menus. From a bar Manager you can quickly springboard into a Food and Beverage Manager, Restaurant Manager or Club Manager.

What's the expected salary for Bar Managers in Australia?

  • Starting salary $44,960
  • Average salary $53,097 
  • Top-end salary $64,120

What skills will you develop as a Bar Manager?

Those dedicated to the job will develop a valuable skillset across areas such as:

  • Customer service and people skills
  • Budgeting and managing finances
  • Business operations
  • Marketing and communications/media relations
  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving
  • Hiring, training and managing staff
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Multi-tasking

Pathways to becoming a Restaurant, Cafe or Bar Manager

As with all the other positions we've listed, these ones all hinge on experience in the industry. Starting out as a barista or bartender is a great way to enter the industry and show your dedication and willingness to learn. As a student at Kenvale College, you'll have the opportunity to do this through combined work and study.

From there, if you're taking the restaurant or cafe path, you can work your way up to become a supervisor or caterer. Those wanting to get into bar management can grow their skills as a sommelier or mixologist, and later use what they've learnt to design the menus and decor in their very own establishment. 

Starting out as a bartender is a great way to enter the food and beverage industry and work your way up to becoming a Bar Manager.Starting out as a bartender is a great way to enter the food and beverage industry and work your way up to becoming a Bar Manager.

Here are some roles you can start out in that could lead you to senior roles in the food and beverage industry:

  • Bartender
  • Caterer
  • Food and beverage attendant
  • Barista
  • Host/hostess
  • Mixologist
  • Sommelier
  • Supervisor

Build valuable skills you can transfer to any industry

The skills listed that you'll acquire from working in these hospitality roles are highly valuable skills you can use in other industries – particularly any job within the service sector. Skills involving customer service, communication, organisation, people management, time management, stress management, creativity and problem-solving are tremendously useful in any line of work, especially mid- to senior management positions that require managing entire teams of people. 

And as more and more of us are switching careers throughout our lifetime (as opposed to sticking to the same job for decades as previous generations have done), having a transferable skillset has never been more important. According to SEEK Australia, being able to demonstrate competencies in areas such as the ones listed below are highly valuable to employers:

  • Time management
  • Creative thinking
  • Communication
  • Teamwork  
  • Problem-solving

You'll gain all of these skills and more in a hospitality career! 

Having a transferable skillset has never been more important.

Another important point to note is that the skills you need to work in hospitality, and the ones you'll gain from working in the industry, cannot be easily replaced by machines. While robots are automating a lot of jobs traditionally occupied by real people, a machine cannot give you a kind-hearted smile and deliver the service a person can. You'll be employable for decades to come.

The world is your oyster with a career in hospitality

The opportunities in the Australian hospitality industry are endless, and there are so many directions you can go in, both in and outside of hospitality. 

Talk to a Kenvale course adviser today to get your career started!

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