project future proof jobs header
project future proof jobs header

Future Proof Jobs in Hospitality

Project leader
Georges El Hajal
2022 - 2025
Hospitality Management

What is the motivation for the project?

This project came out of the industry experience of the lead researcher, Georges El Hajal, who has operational HR experience in different parts of the world, as well as HR teaching experience. He recognised that hospitality graduates are not entering the industry because of the low wages and long hours perception that many students and their families have of the hospitality industry. This is not news and industry have long complained that many hospitality university graduates never join the industry on graduation, or leave it shortly afterwards. It was considered the responsibility of individual hotel companies to compete for the remaining graduates and to try and retain them with graduate training programmes and rapid promotional opportunities bot nationally and internationally. Covid19 has exacerbated this staffing shortfall crisis to new levels, with hospitality businesses not able to fully re-open post pandemic due to staffing shortages. This project seeks to address that.

What issues does the project address?

The hospitality industry in The Netherlands provides many career opportunities across a wide variety of organisations. However, it is beset by a poor reputation for long and anti-social hours, low wages and menial work. This image persists with students and parents despite the many opportunities for interesting and rewarding work, fast promotion and responsibility, and international opportunities. This study aims to help hospitality organisations and the sector as a whole show how it can better position itself in the minds of future employees to make it a career of choice. The Covid19 pandemic has exacerbated a situation that was already challenging before hospitality businesses were forced to lay off many staff. A concerted effort is now needed by all organisations in this sector working together to promote and rebrand the sector. This project will work with students and staff at MBO and HBO levels and with employers to find solutions.

Project team

This project is part of the lead researcher's progress towards a Professional Doctorate/PhD qualification. It is designed to use his industry experience but also to make connections with local hospitality businesses and students from two colleges of further education (MBO) in Friesland. Staff and students from those MBO colleges will be developing and working on small-scale projects that fit their needs, skills, and learning outcomes as well as benefitting the local hospitality industry and providing current industry material and case studies to be evaluated as part of the lead researcher's studies, and providing current and relevant materials for teaching and publication. Masters students from HMS will also have the opportunity to participate in an Elective on this topic. Other members of the Professorship of Hospitality Studies and the research unit the Academy of International Hospitality Research (AIHR) will also be involved when their particular skills are required.

Project approach

Georges El Hajal will run a series of workshops and consultation sessions with partners at Friesland College and Friese Poort to establish what is currently being done, to identify initiatives that can improve the situations, to implement those initiatives and to measure the results. Georges will provide co-ordination,  support and guidance to partners to help them develop and run research projects themselves. Regular meetings will be held and findings from the study will be used in teaching across insitutions and also contribute to the portfolio of projects for his PhD/PD study.


Industry partners already involved in this project include:

  • Fergeer B.V.
  • Pean,B.V.
  • Restaurant Onder de Linden B.V.
  • Hotel-Restaurant Lauswolt
  • Hotel Leeuwarden Centre B.V.
  • Picknickers
  • TSM Horeca BV (Rederij Doeksen)
  • Brasserie Westersail
  • Tjaarda Oranjewoud
  • Eetcafe Nooitgedagt
  • Veenstra Reizen
  • Stay Okay Terschelling
  • Strandhotel Vigilante & Strandhuys Makkum

Key results

This project is still at the initial stages of development. However, it is anticipated that small projects involving students and staff at Friese Poort and Friesland College can be started in the near future. Georges has already published academic papers on the topic of future-proof jobs, and is presenting at CHME 2022 in Edinburgh, at the AIHR Research Poster Day in Leeuwarden, and will provide regular updates for industry.