Significance of Work Experience on a Graduate’s Employability


  • Caroline Archer



The purpose of this research is to evaluate how significant work experience is for a conference and events graduate’s employability with particular reference to the conference and events department of hotels. It will also highlight what skills Conference and Banqueting managers’ view as being most important, and whether the type of experience affects the skill graduates' learn.


Four Conference and Banqueting managers’ from hotel chains in the UK were interviewed at their hotel. The interview consisted of questions to gain background knowledge of the interviewee to gain an understanding of their experience and qualifications. There are also questions to cover different types and lengths of work experience compared with degrees, and the affect they have on employability skills. Basic and sector specific skills were rated to gain insight into what skills managers’ view as being most important.


The interviews found that work experience through a placement year is viewed as more beneficial from a manager's point of view for a graduate’s employability in conference and events. Work experience is also perceived as being more important than a qualification, as the skills learnt are viewed as being more valuable than those learnt on a degree. Work experience is very significant for a graduates’ employability, relevance in hospitality is most desirable to employers.

The findings showed that the most important skill in both basic and specific sets is communication. The results suggest that the majority of important skills are learnt through work experience which therefore confirms work experience is very beneficial to a student however, some skills are learnt through a degree therefore it is still important in a graduate's employability.


The value of this study is mainly to present up-to-date opinions and data of Conference and Banqueting managers' as to how significant they view work experience for a conference and events graduate's employability. This research adds value and more detail to previous studies within the hospitality industry, and also introduces specific research about the conference and events sector.

This research is also valuable to the author and others as it assists in how they can present themselves to employers. The research also underpins the relevance of work experience in relation to the type of skills it helps to develop.


Keywords: Work experience, employability, skills, conference and events graduates, hospitality.