Hotels and other accommodation providers

Hospitality, sport, leisure and tourism careers for graduates: hotels and other accommodation providers.

Hospitality is a significant business in Ireland. Throughout the island of Ireland you will find every type of accommodation from hostels and B&B’s to budget hotels, university residences and luxury five-star spa resort properties.

As this is a global industry, you can apply for graduate opportunities around the world as long as you have the qualifications, language skills and visa requirements.

Types of job

Graduate jobs include:

  • Waiter/waitress
  • Bar person
  • Accommodation assistant
  • Receptionist
  • Reservations agent
  • Conference and banqueting co-ordinator
  • Duty manager
  • Supervisor
  • Departmental manager: front office; reservations; food and beverage; accommodation; conference and banqueting; kitchen (head/executive chef)
  • General manager
  • Chef
  • Leisure centre manager
  • Fitness instructor.

What does the job involve?

Management trainee programmes are a common point of entry into the hospitality sector, particularly among the larger hotel chains and accommodation providers. As part of these programmes you will typically spend time working in all areas of the hotel whilst getting specific management training. Demand for programmes in the more prestigious hotel chains can be high. Management opportunities can also be open to you outside of the formal graduate programmes, particularly in smaller operations.

On a graduate programme you will typically start in operational departments either in supervisory or entry-level positions depending on the design of the programme. Departments include the operational areas such as front office/reception, restaurant, accommodation, food and beverage, bar and even leisure management.

You may also have access to support roles such as reservations, marketing, accounts, human resources and IT, but longer term opportunities in these areas are less common than in operational departments.

Culinary graduates can gain entry to more kitchen-based roles.

Qualifications and skills

Among the key skills shown by successful graduates in the hotel/accommodation sector are strong people skills, such as communication or relationship building. Other key qualities include:

  • Team work
  • Management
  • Leadership potential
  • The ability to show initiative and to innovate.

You will also need a high level of stamina and, of course, flexibility. It is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week business. Those who work in it and enjoy it describe ‘the buzz’ that they get from it as unrivalled by any other profession.

For management trainee programmes, employers tend to give preference to graduates with a hospitality or related degree (ordinary or honours) or an HND, but some will accept degrees in other disciplines.


Salary levels for graduate programmes in both Northern Ireland and the Republic tend to be around the mid-€20,000s but may vary depending on the overall package offered (which may include accommodation or meals). For entry-level roles outside of these programmes you can expect to earn €15,000-€25,000.

General managers and deputy general managers can earn over €40,000 – more in the more prestigious properties. Additional benefits, such as meals or use of leisure facilities, are common in the hospitality sector.