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    Hospitality employers’ perceptions of technology for sustainable development: The implications for graduate employability

    Hospitality organisations and higher education (HE) have significant roles as active stakeholders in sustaining a transformation towards sustainable development (SD) both in academic landscape and at an extensive policy level. The dynamic revolution in our society and an uplifted perspective of sustainability require contemporary, cross-disciplinary and flexible competences in sustainability related knowledge. Students are increasingly tapping onto digital tools for their learning, hence this should stimulate a contribution to SD and be involved purposively with sustainability intent.

    In addition, for the HE sector to add value to employability and to society in a wider context, it is essential for educators to have an in-depth understanding of these key stakeholder needs, particularly employers, inform and enhance the hospitality curriculum. SD is one of the competencies identified by employers needed to meet the increasing demand for higher-level skills. The embodiment of SD into the hospitality education is gaining traction and current research are looking into the business aspect of SD, in terms of hospitality education and curriculum design. Technology is also a graduate competency required by employers. However, there has been limited academic analysis into the industry. As the nature of technology and the understanding of SD changing continuously, it is important to understand how employers view the employability value of these interdisciplinary subjects.

    Organisations that take an integrated approach to SD can yield greater profits, reduced costs, bolster employee commitment, enhanced customer satisfaction and retention and improved investor relationship. Hospitality organisations can benefit from implementing environmentally friendly strategies that are transparent and responsible as these activities make them more acceptable from the societal perspective. Hospitality organisations are also moving to be committed to more environmentally friendly actions. Therefore, it is important to produce employable graduates and support variations in learning. Research has placed significance on the skills and competencies needed by HE graduates for employability and examined in depth on those that are crucial for hospitality graduates. Amongst those important skills and competencies that employees demand ar technology and SD to satisfy the increasing demand for higher-level skills.

    The integration of SD in the hospitality curriculum is still at the early stage as researchers continue to examine the stakeholder SD requirements for employability. The sustainability of hospitality industry is reliant on industry professionals who accept SD principles as part of their management values including stable environmental stewardship. Hospitality employers generally concede on the significance of learning about sustainability in HE for the industry and emphasised that students need to comprehend what the concept actually means in their professional and personal life and why it is important for them to know it.” This competency must go beyond the limited perception of SD as cost savings initiatives and being a financial business interest for all stakeholders.

    For all business-related pursuit, basic competencies such as strategic thinking, communication, leadership and decision-making skills may remain constant over time. However, a growing dynamic transformation today will need contemporary, cross-disciplinary and flexible competences such as sustainability-related insights to boost important, integrated and interdisciplinary ideology.

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    Participate in the upcoming QS Subject Focus Summit – “The Way Forward: Hospitality and Tourism Education Convergence with Industry 4.0” which will be held from 5-7 December 2018 in Kuching, Malaysia.

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