Millennial: The Generation Reshaping Travel Industry Hiring

The youth in India today are confident, assertive, and focused. They know exactly what they want and often have a ready blueprint of how to get it.

India’s workforce is young, half of its population is under the age of 25 and two-thirds are less than 35. Any astute CEO will tell you – today, the key to a thriving business is engaging the right talent pool. This is easier said than done.

The reality is that the talent crunch has been hiding in plain sight. Every year, large numbers of high school graduates enter the Indian professional workforce. Some of them are not quite clear on what their career choices are. Somehow this rich talent pool has been ignored, overlooked and under-utilized. An important reality is that as this category of the workforce is ready to enter the professional workforce in sizeable numbers, what is the scope of their ambition? How does our business environment support their aspirations? What are organisations doing to attract and retain this tranche of talent? This talent can be harnessed by providing high school graduates professional courses in a variety of vocational subjects.

Today’s Gen Y has a completely different perspective about work. While earlier young men and women entered the workforce to earn an income, today the motivator is a “career” in addition to money. The Gen Y is clearly aspiring for the top job and not content with just “any job”. The focus is to compete with the best in class colleagues and deliver the best. 

Today, millennials don’t like being micromanaged and therefore demand the liberty of choosing where to work and how to work. Flexible location features very high on their needs in a job, especially in big cities that have become infamous for traffic. An MRI Network’s Millennial Hiring Trends Study, 2017 points out that 38% of recruiters believe that the most effective tools to increase millennial engagement and retention is the flexibility to work-from-home. Fortunately, in the travel industry the job description of any recruit cannot be untangled from some aspect of remote working. The very nature of the sector demands that employees are quick on their feet with an eagerness to explore. 

Technology has opened the door for an unprecedented access to information, and facilities are provided at every step of a customer’s journey. The travel industry presents an opportunity for young employees to keep pace with evolving technology and acquire new skills for them to leverage later on in their careers. For instance: an understanding of data analytics, used for creating a personalized experience for customers, is an asset. India has seen more than 400% rise in demand for data analysts across varied industry sectors, and a hands-on experience working with data from customers would be unique learning for young professionals.

I have found, regardless of what the Gen Y professional expects to achieve through their work or what motivates them to do work, they report five features that enable them to do their work:

Clear understanding of goals and expectations;

Open communication channels;

Encouragement from co-workers and supervisors;

Having voice heard; and

Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities

An insight into the next generation of travel professionals is that the growing travel industry largely shaped by the young traveler not unlike themselves. Their aspirations have changed drastically from the past; this change has been driven primarily by three factors – pervasive nature of technology, the demand for personalization, and the quest for deeper meaning in their travels. We call this the ‘New Age of Travel’. Now, the protagonist of the story is not the journey or the destination as in the past, but the traveler themselves. Young travel professionals must understand that the opportunity for a tour is likely to arise out of an interaction with a customer who is unable to complete his/her booking online or is unable to customize his/her itinerary as per their preferences. Experience in handling such situations will allow professionals to refine their interpersonal skills as well as their technical skills. 

For professionals to grow in this sector, they must inculcate in themselves, something intrinsic to travel – a passion for discovering new places and cultures, an interest to meet people and a penchant to make dreams come true!. The travel & tourism sector in India accounted for 9.3 percent of the total employment opportunities generated in the country in 2016 and the number is expected to rise by 2 percent annum to 46.42 million jobs by 2026. This is an exciting industry to be working in for anyone with a sense of adventure. 

As a travel professional, often a day includes spending time with one customer who wants to go to Baku; another to Athens; and then the next to some incredible place that we’ve never heard of! That’s the excitement of being a travel professional – you never know what challenges you will face each day, and every day you have something new to learn. A travel agent career is pretty much as far from monotonous as you can get. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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