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Searching for strengths: gaps and opportunities for social and emotional skills development in the tourism and hospitality sector

This briefing identifies gaps and strengths in social and emotional skills across occupations in the tourism and hospitality industry to be able to help displaced workers transition to new roles.

Document Highlights

The pandemic hit the Tourism and Hospitality (T&H) sector especially hard—in Canada, the sector unemployment rate reached 18.6 per cent in January 2021. Helping displaced T&H workers find new and meaningful employment is crucial to both the people directly affected and the broader economic recovery. Strong social and emotional skills (SES) can improve a person’s ability to transition between roles. Understanding the prevalence of these skills among T&H workers is important to highlight opportunities for career transitions both within and outside the industry. It may also support retraining programs.

Building on our previous research, this briefing identifies SES gaps and strengths across occupations in the T&H industry to be able to help displaced workers transition to new roles. Key areas of focus include mapping the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics’ O*Net framework to tourism and hospitality occupations and analyzing subsector groupings. We also suggest next steps that could help the tourism and hospitality sector minimize the gaps in social and emotional skills.

Key findings

Within the tourism and hospitality sector, travel service occupations have strong social and emotional skills, indicating that workers in this sector have clear skills strengths.

Active listening is the standout social emotional skill for tourism and hospitality occupations, reflecting the significance and strength of customer service skills in these roles.

People in managerial roles have stronger social and emotional skills because of their need to communicate effectively with staff and customers.