New AHLEF, HCareers Report Promises Robust Workforce for Hotels

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 14, 2018) – A new report shows that over 50 percent of the Gen Z demographic—the largest generation in the U.S.—is interested in pursuing a career in hospitality. Commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) and conducted by BW Research Partnership in collaboration with Hcareers, the study examines the perceptions, attitudes and career preferences of Gen Z as they gear up to enter the workforce. The study also showed that Gen Z values companies that take care of their employees, the hallmark of an industry that takes care of their people.

“We are very heartened to see the high level of interest from the Gen Z market. The $590 billion hospitality industry is continuously developing new programs to attract and retain talent,” said Rosanna Maietta, AHLEF President. “We want to embrace this next wave of potential employees, and are committed to understanding their priorities so we can create career pathways that build a viable and fruitful environment for everyone in the future.”

“This research further validates our drive as a career platform to foster relationships with students and future employers seeking a job in the hospitality industry,” said Ron Mitchell, CEO of Virgil Holdings which owns and operates Hcareers. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with AHLEF and highlight the extensive growth opportunities for Gen Z in our industry.”

“Coinciding with National Apprenticeship Week, the findings support the hospitality industry’s job training and apprenticeship programs that facilitate employees to move up the ladder of opportunity.  Research shows that Gen Z has an average attention span of 8 seconds, compared to 12 seconds of millennials.  “We better catch them fast,” added Maietta.

Key findings from the research include:

Gen Z is big and wants to work.

Gen Z is the largest generation in the U.S. with over 61 million individuals born between 1995-2010. The most racially diverse age group, 20 percent of Gen Z is bilingual. Many witnessed their parents struggle through the recession and consequently have lower risk tolerance and concerns about the economy. 45 percent are already working full or part-time.

Women and men want different things.

The survey found stark differences between male and female Gen Z respondents. Already a highly socially inclusive generation, when choosing an employer, Gen Z women are twice as likely as men to list a socially responsible company as the most important factor when choosing their job. The top traits found to be important to a Gen Z’s success at work include good attitude, confidence and team work for females, compared to technical skills for males.

Hospitality is important.

The Hotel and Lodging industry attracts higher interest from Gen Z and young millennials than industries such as construction, finance, insurance, restaurant and food services. It’s also the one thing men and women can agree on – the industry attracts interest from both males (52%) and females (53%), bonus for recruiters in the field.

Companies must be held accountable.

When choosing a company to work for, Gen Z prioritizes companies with a positive reputation for treating their employees fairly, paying them well, being socially responsible, and provide opportunities to gain new skills.

Education is not seen as important.

The survey revealed a majority of Gen Z (52.5%) respondents do not believe education is a top characteristic necessary to qualify for a job. Attitude, confidence, ability to work in a team, and technical or job-specific skills are more important, according to Gen Z respondents.

Gen Z is most interested in management.

Gen Z is very interested in positions that include “manager” in the title, perhaps reflecting a desire for higher pay and career growth. However, Gen Z also shows a heightened interest in customer-service jobs that include face-to-face interactions such as front desk agents and bartenders.


The study was conducted online through a BW Research survey to a national panel of 15 to 30-year-old individuals via email and mobile phone. Designed to be representative of the U.S. general population, quotas were developed using population estimates provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Representation was maintained for age, gender, ethnicity and race. The survey was completed by 2,846 respondents with an average completion length of just over 16 minutes. In this study, Gen Z is defined as individuals between the ages of 15 and 23, and young millennials are defined between the ages of 24 and 30.

The study, commissioned by AHLEF was administered in an effort to understand the perceptions of Generation Z towards careers in hospitality and ultimately how the hospitality industry can better position itself to attract and retain Generation Z talent. For more information on the research visit

A downloadable copy of the report is available here. An infographic highlighting key findings is also available here. For more information on the study, plus career development resources and information on apprenticeship programs, visit


About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation

AHLEF is the hospitality industry’s philanthropic organization, dedicated to helping people build careers that improve their lives and strengthen the lodging industry. Created in 1953, AHLEF initially focused on providing scholarships to a small group of promising hospitality students. Since that time, the Foundation has taken on a much greater mandate: ensuring a strong and viable future for the entire lodging industry. Underscoring the industry’s stories of opportunity, growth, and success, AHLEF priorities include scholarships, research and career development programs.

About Hcareers

Hcareers is the leading talent recruitment platform in the hospitality industry. With a 20-year track record, 4+ million registered job seekers and 3,000+ active recruiting customers, Hcareers has developed one of the most venerable brands in the hospitality industry. Hcareers is a wholly owned property of Virgil Holdings Inc. (VHI).  VHI owns and operates technology-enabled human capital solutions, including Hcareers and Virgil Careers, a leading career assessment and analytics platform that delivers data-driven insights into job seeker and employee capabilities. For more information visit

About BW Research Partnership

BW Research is widely regarded as the national leader in labor market and economic impact analyses for emerging and evolving industries. BW Research examines the world of work and provides high quality data and keen insight into economic and workforce issues related to industries such as energy, healthcare, information & communication technologies, life sciences, tourism and water. The principals of the firm are committed to providing research and analysis for data-driven decision-making. More at