Erik Stuebe on the big opportunity for hospitality professionals during the “War for talent”.

Australia’s hospitality industry is currently facing a War for Talent, in a way that’s never been seen before. With more jobs than skilled people, Deloitte Access Economic’s Australian Tourism Labour Force Report, tipped the problem to only worsen by 2020, with an anticipated 123,000 jobs unfilled in the industry.

Despite boasting some of the industry’s best working conditions and standards, the luxIHG2ury hotel segment is not immune. “Finding talent is our biggest concern. The fact that we have people working in our hotel from 34 different birth counties, is an indicator to the lengths we have to go to.” says Erik Stuebe, General Manager, InterContinental Rialto.

Whilst the current vacancy rate for hospitality jobs could be considered a crisis, there is also a big opportunity for professionals who genuinely want to develop and grow.  Erik, an industry veteran with 36 years hotelier experience, is positive about this opportunity; “InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) in particular is a very people focused organisation. If you’re sincere and passionate, we’re going to develop you.”

Development programs such as Future leaders and RISE, are driving home IHG’s diversity and inclusion philosophy. “The RISE program will see twenty female managers develop their careers toward General Managers roles across the IHG group” notes Erik.

Luxury hotel groups (IHG included) are also renowned for mobility programs that empower budding professionals to change roles within the hotel and the broader group. The breadth of experience this provides is key when developing as a leader. “When you progress through your career, the one thing you must have as a leader is confidence. The more you have had exposure to different parts of the hotel, the more you can relate to those teams as a leader” conveys Erik.

So what are luxury hotel groups looking for during recruitment? Erik is quite upfront about what it takes, “you have to be interested and passionate. We’re looking for people who are interested in the industry, not just a job. If I’m in a supermarket and someone at the cashier is fantastic, I give them my card and tell them to call me if they ever want to move to hospitality.”

When asked “why consider a luxury hotel career?” Erik exudes nothing but absolute passion for the pathway, but there are three things that stand out:

  1. No day is ever the same.
  2. Interacting with people will give you a boost when you’re having a bad day, and
  3. Being part of a tribe.

“Hotel teams are famous for socialising together. It’s about working in a safe, happy, warm and interesting place” relays Erik. “You also have some funny and amazing things that happen to you in the industry, like meeting the Queen and Princess Diana.”

In considering the career move into both hospitality and luxury hotels, Erik’s advice is to keep an open mind. “A lot of young people don’t think they’ll like working in hospitality until they actually get into it. A lot of people don’t expect that. We have such a tribe mentality here.”

If you’re interested in opportunities available across Australia’s hospitality industry, including the luxury hotels segment, please register a profile on the poach hospitality network at

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