Research undertaken by W Hospitality Group, the award-winning consultancy and one of the founding members of Hotel Partners Africa (HPA), reveals that employment in the hotel sector in Africa is set to grow substantially in the coming years. It estimates 136,000 new jobs will be created in 2014, 87,000 in 2015, 70,000 in 2016 and 27,000 thereafter based on current signed contracts from international brands plus regional brands and non branded developments to come. Further jobs will be added to these totals as new deals are signed by the brands and others.
Whilst the overall headline number sounds impressive, the growth in demand for hotel workers varies substantially from country to country. Regionally the numbers are similar, with North Africa creating 115,000 jobs across 5 countries and Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) creating 165,000 across 23 countries. The 5 North Africa countries are in the top 10 in Africa while Nigeria leads the way in SSA with the creation of 53,000 jobs. It is followed by Ghana with 11,000, Angola with 9,000, Ethiopia with 8,800 and Uganda with 8,500.
In North Africa, where the hotel industry is more developed and where growth is relatively slower (the hotel pipeline grew by 9% from 2012 to 2013), the employment marketplace is likely to be characterised by the recruitment of large numbers of junior people and rapid promotions for the most able individuals. In Sub Saharan Africa, where growth is forecast to be a much faster 23% and where there are fewer people with hospitality industry experience, HPA anticipates three major trends: an influx of top management from abroad, a war for talented middle management and substantial investment in training programmes.
Trevor Ward, Managing Director of W Hospitality Group (pictured) said: "The main reasons for the slower growth in North Africa include the opening of hotels in the 2012 pipeline, particularly in Algeria, a reduced investment focus on North Africa due to political concerns and a greater emphasis on development in sub-Saharan markets. Nevertheless, by comparison with the developed economies, where growth rates are struggling to exceed 2%, Africa is positively booming and in an industry which is as labour intensive as hotels, that is very good news for job creation."
The companies leading the way are Hilton Worldwide which, W Hospitality Group estimates, will have a need for 10,000 new workers, Accor for 6,000, Carlson Rezidor for 5,500 and Starwood and Marriott for 4,000 each. He continued: "It is very good for the hospitality sector that so many major international brands are blazing a trail because they will bring a requirement to meet international service standards."
Over the years, W Hospitality Group has compiled the definitive list of hotel development projects in Africa – information it now tracks and updates on an ongoing basis. From this, it is able to predict accurately the number and type of new jobs that are being created in the hotel industry.
Mark Martinovic, HPA Founding Partner and CEO of Hotel Spec, says: "The ratio of staff per room is consistent from one hotel to another in the same category. For example a luxury hotel will typically employ 2 people per room. By comparison, an upscale hotel will typically employ 1.2 people per room, a mid-scale hotel will typically employ 1 person per room and a budget hotel will typically employ fewer than 1 person per room."
The founders of Hotel Partners Africa will all be attending the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Nairobi at the end of September, where they will be actively debating the rapid expansion of hospitality on the Continent and the implications for employers. They will also be present at the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, taking place on 3-5 March, where they will be available for further discussion and media interviews.
HPA is a new consultancy formed by four pre-eminent consultants to the hotel industry in Africa – Trevor Ward and Vernon Page of Lagos-based W Hospitality Group, David Harper of Leisure Property Services (UK) and Mark Martinovic of Hotel Spec (South Africa and Dubai). Together they are offering their clients an unparalleled range of services throughout the lifecycle of a hotel venture in Africa, from feasibility & market studies, valuations, sourcing funding & finance, development management and procurement, to asset management and sales.