At the 2014 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, Hilton Worldwide announced a global commitment that aims to impact at least one million young people by 2019 by helping them to reach their full potential. This new initiative will open doors for young people in three ways:
- Connecting them to the world of travel by enabling them to experience new cultures, contributing to the improvement of the sustainability of the industry and shaping their future with opportunities in Hilton Worldwide’s expansive supply chain
- Preparing them for success in the world of work, travel and beyond by supporting their basic needs and developing their life and professional skills with mentorships, apprenticeships and Hilton Worldwide’s innovative career awareness program, Careers@HiltonLive
- Employing them across all divisions of the business across more than 4,000 owned, managed and franchised hotels worldwide.
“We have been opening our doors to millions of guests for nearly a century. This pledge is a natural extension of our promise to create meaningful opportunities for the next generation of Team Members, guests and business partners,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide.
Research shows that many young people face a grim socioeconomic reality. More than 74 million worldwide are unemployed and nearly 290 million – more than a quarter of our planet’s young people – are neither working nor studying. Travel and tourism is the world’s single largest employer, accounting for almost 10 percent of global employment, and it is expected to generate 73 million new jobs by 2022. But simply creating more jobs will not be enough to address the issue if young people are not equipped with the range of skills needed to succeed in today’s complex marketplace.
Hilton Worldwide will focus the majority of its corporate responsibility efforts on programs and partners that connect, prepare and employ young people around the world. From supporting young entrepreneurs by connecting them to training, certification and markets to preparing the next generation of hospitality leaders, Hilton Worldwide will work with a range of global and local partners to help one million young people over the next five years.
Last year, Hilton Worldwide issued an industry-wide call to action in collaboration with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to help prevent a “lost generation” by building awareness and creating opportunities for young people in the hospitality industry. Changing perceptions of career opportunities in the travel and tourism industry is a key priority for Hilton Worldwide and the sector. A recent report by the World Travel & Tourism Council shows that lack of information, misjudgment and preconception are some of the biggest barriers preventing young people from connecting to careers in the industry. This, coupled with a talent gap, especially in the area of life and soft skills often make it challenging for the hospitality industry to find the right candidates to meet its needs.
“The talent gap is one of the most important issues facing businesses, governments and communities today, and it is a direct contributor to the youth unemployment rate,” continued Nassetta. “As one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, we are in a unique position to leverage our size, scale and expertise to close the gap and address this critical issue in a meaningful way. The success of our business depends on the success of the next generation.”
The commitment builds upon Travel with Purpose, Hilton Worldwide’s global corporate responsibility strategy to create shared value for our communities, business and environment in which we operate. It brings together a range of existing programs and company resources around the world that connect, prepare and engage young people including:
- Careers@HiltonLive, Youth in Hospitality Month: A month-long awareness campaign where hotels connect with young people via job fairs, career guidance talks, and job shadowing to learn about careers in hospitality. In 2013 hotels across Europe hosted over 320 events reaching more than 20,000 young people.
- Bright Blue Futures: The program, led by the company’s flagship brand Hilton Hotels & Resorts, encourages Team Members to donate their time and expertise to help young people achieve stability and bring hope to their communities, preparing them for a brighter future. The program launched last year at the World Economic Forum.
- Apprenticeship Programs: Widespread skills and training programs at properties across Europe and Asia including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, China and the UK.
- School Partnerships: Relationships with more than 50 hospitality schools and universities around the world to prepare the next generation of talent.
- Professional Development Programs: Comprehensive hands-on accelerated training programs that help train the next generation of hospitality leaders.
- Life and Soft Skills Trainings: Life skills training program leveraging IYF’s Passport to Success. To date, the company rolled out the training program in Saudi Arabia and South Africa and plans to launch a version globally in 2014.
- Teaching Kids to CARE: For more than a decade, DoubleTree by Hilton Team Members have connected young people to opportunities to learn about sustainability, encouraging them to be engaged global citizens.
“One of the most impactful actions that a company can take is to develop a comprehensive commitment that is both widely accessible and scalable,” said William Reese, president and CEO, the International Youth Foundation. “This challenge of preparing young people for the workforce is one that no single industry or company can address – it requires cross-sector collaboration and strategic investments.”
More information about Hilton Worldwide’s global commitment to open doors for young people is available at hiltonworldwide.com/youth.