Hospitality, leisure and travel
Restaurant

What salary can I expect from a graduate hospitality job?

The hospitality sector is very varied, so what's the range of graduate salaries on offer?
Graduate salaries across the industry vary depending upon role and employer.

It’s important to bear in mind that hospitality management, in terms of running a venue, is very different from working in the hospitality industry under another function, such as human resources or finance departments. What’s more, graduate salaries across the industry vary considerably depending upon role and employer.

Graduate management starting salaries at specific restaurants or pubs are generally in the region of £19,000 to £25,000. Conversely, graduate roles in the HR function of Whitbread plc (the owners of Premier Inn and Costa), for example, pay £25,000, while the Premier Inn operations management graduate programme offers a starting salary of £22,000.

Graduates can enter the industry from a variety of degree backgrounds, depending on the area they go into. Relevant work experience will help you apply successfully for roles that include some management responsibilities or relevant training.

A graduate restaurant/pub manager’s starting salary

At McDonald’s, a trainee manager of a restaurant will earn between £21,500 and £24,500 and will become a second assistant manager on completing the programme, with plenty of opportunities for further progression.

Other restaurant chains have been known to offer similar starting salaries – Nando’s offers trainee managers salaries in the region of £20,000 to £26,000.

Mitchells & Butlers (owners of All Bar One, O’Neill’s and Harvester, to name but a few) also run graduate programmes. These are not restricted to the management of a pub, but also include head office functions such as marketing or finance. The starting salary for the retail stream on the Mitchells & Butlers graduate scheme is £20,000, though it may be higher depending on skills and experience.

Hotel manager salaries

Once again, a number of different entry routes are open to graduates. You could work as a manager for a particular part of a hotel, such as reception or a restaurant, or as a general manager overseeing all aspects of the venue.

The InterContinental Hotel Group graduate programme has paid graduates a starting salary of between around £21,000 and £23,000. The graduate management trainee scheme at Firmdale Hotels is similarly remunerated, at around £17,000 to £19,000 in the first year, increasing to around £20,000 to £21,000 in the second year.

Graduates without a relevant degree or sufficient experience may want to consider taking a job as a trainee manager and working up to general manager. Salaries for trainee managers can be lower (from £14,000 to £18,000) but have good promotional prospects.

Will a qualification in hospitality management improve my salary?

Many employers respect the value of a hospitality qualification when it comes to differentiating between applicants, and some look for graduates who have either a relevant qualification or relevant work experience such as an internship or part-time job. However, applying with a hospitality-related degree is unlikely to significantly increase your salary over that of other applicants at entry-level.

A hospitality degree is that it lends itself to a number of different careers, ranging from conference centre management to event planning. You could consider a broad selection of employers. Most positions vary in salary according to employer and your experience – if your hospitality degree included a year in industry you’ll be ahead of the competition.

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