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?

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Graduate salaries across the industry vary depending upon role and employer.

As you’ll see from our figures below, starting salaries for graduate managers at restaurants and pubs are generally in the region of £24,000. Relevant work experience will give you a step up if you want to boost your salary by applying for roles with significant management responsibilities.

You can enter the industry from a variety of degree backgrounds. However, the Covid-19 pandemic caused financial difficulties for many hospitality businesses and you may find it difficult to find a job in some locations as a result. Likewise, you may have found it tough to find work experience during the pandemic. However, as our advice for filling a coronavirus-shaped gap on your CV emphasises, recruiters won’t look unfavourably on your applications in future as a result of this. You may also want to take a look at our tips for job hunting during a pandemic .

A graduate restaurant/pub manager’s starting salary

At McDonald’s , a trainee manager of a restaurant will earn between £24,000 and £27,000. On completing the programme, there are plenty of opportunities for further progression. Other restaurant chains have been known to offer similar starting salaries.

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 Mitchells & Butlers graduate management scheme is £26,000.

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.

Alternatively, some hotel chains run graduate schemes that combine hospitality work with management training. For example, the Red Carnation Hotel Collection’s graduate management programme offers a salary of £22,000–£24,000, while the Grand Hotel in Brighton offers two graduate management programmes, one covering food and beverages and the other rooms/guest relations. Both offer salaries of £25,000.

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

There are good progression opportunities in hospitality, such as working your way up to more senior roles at bigger and/or more high-end establishments. For instance, it may take five or more years of learning on the job – and probably several relocations – to become a hotel manager or general manager, but the rewards can be significant: experienced hotel general managers can earn up to £60,000.

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.

One of the main career benefits of 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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