The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi (URL) interviewed Xavier Martín Canals, cofounder and general director of the Turijobs job portal. Martín is an HTSI alumnus and a member of the HTSI Advisory Board, which is made up of management from important businesses in the international tourism and hospitality sector. This interview is the first of a series of chats with each of the members of the Advisory Board.
- The company you direct, Turijobs, started out as your final project at the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. What did you learn at HTSI that you were able to incorporate into your project?
Of everything I learned, I’d emphasize the methods needed to turn a project into a reality. I always say that rather than just being taught theory, I was encouraged from the start to think about a practical project that could be applied in real life. This focus on business is what I remember the most and what I liked the most about the School.
How important is having a specific job portal for the tourism and hotel sector?
In all humility, I think that if there wasn’t a portal specifically for tourism and hospitality, someone would have to create it. A sector as important as tourism needs to have its own job portal, a place for companies in the sector to find specialized talent.
At Turijobs, we’ve been changing people’s lives for over 16 years, helping them to find new professional projects and working with them at each stage of their career. We help create the most talented teams for the companies that, in the end, are the ones serving customers.
I think that a professionalized portal like Turijobs helps to give greater visibility to the jobs available, but it also helps dignify the different professions in this industry and makes them more visible. After all, this sector employs over 12% of the workforce.
- What positions in tourism and hospitality have the most demand right now?
We recently published our annual employment study for the year 2018, where we evaluate the sectors with the most demand. Cooks, Servers and Receptionists make up over 50% of job offers in the tourism sector, and the numbers seem to show that this trend will continue during the first trimester of 2019. Still, Turijobs clearly shows the diversity of businesses and jobs out there, and professionals can find many more job opportunities than they expect.
- What sort of skills do businesses in the sector want from recent graduates?
First of all, companies looking for talent want people who speak multiple languages. Versatile profiles are also in high demand, even more than professional experience. In fact, many companies find that their main obstacle when looking for talent is a lack of specific knowledge, rather than a lack of experience.
- What would you emphasize about students from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi?
Attitude is one of the most important characteristics of a good professional. In my last few visits, I’ve noticed that HTSI students have it.
- What do you think about HTSI students being able to do internships?
I think it’s a great way for students to dive into the professional world. For a whole year, students get a chance to expand their knowledge and have a first-hand look at how businesses operate. They learn new work methodologies and apply what they’ve learned to real situations.
- Students starting next year will be the first that get to choose from one of 6 itineraries like “event management” or “international hospitality”. What do you think about specialization in the sector?
Specialized skills are extremely useful, especially in the workplace. The tourism and hospitality sector is very broad and is constantly changing, and it needs well-prepared, specialized professionals. Plus, specialization provides professionals with added value and helps them to stand out from the rest. Still, I should add that companies also value people with a wide-ranging professional profile.
- What advice would you give students of tourism and hospitality?
Enjoy your time as a student, it’s a really great phase. Learn from your classmates, your professors and all the invited speakers who set foot in the classroom. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunities you get from internships and your experiences abroad, which people often don’t appreciate like they should. I encourage you to dare to follow your own path and to dream about entrepreneurship. You’re our future and we have great expectations for you, but everything comes in due time.
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