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Hotel jobs in Europe: wages, requirements, documents for foreigners

When it comes to seeking hotel jobs in Europe, numerous factors come into play, including the state of the hotel market in each country, required education and training, in-demand positions, necessary documentation, European-wide salary ranges, and many other details

Last time updated
29.04.24

While all European countries boast a robust hotel industry, certain nations rely more heavily on this sector, offering greater employment prospects. Primarily located in the southern regions, these countries benefit from a more favorable climate that attracts a higher influx of tourists. Examples include Cyprus, Greece, and Malta, which provide ample opportunities for hotel jobs in Europe due to their thriving hospitality industries.

Overview of the hotels's jobs in Europe

Working in a hotel entails a diverse array of roles and responsibilities distributed across various departments to ensure smooth operations and guest satisfaction. From receptionists and concierges to housekeeping staff, maintenance personnel, sales and marketing teams, and of course, hotel managers, a wide range of positions are available within a hotel setting.

While all European countries generally boast a robust hotel industry, some nations have economies more heavily reliant on this sector, thus offering greater employment opportunities in all these positions we have mentioned. One indicator of job prospects in the European hotel sector is the importance of the hospitality industry within each country and the percentage of people employed in this field.

Statistics say

With data from Eurostat regarding the relative importance of hospitality activities in Europe in 2021, we can gauge the significance of hotel employment across different nations.

According to these data, it becomes evident that countries located in southern regions with more favorable climates and higher tourist influxes tend to rely more on the hotel industry for economic sustenance. Topping the list in terms of employment percentages is Cyprus, with 5.88% of the workforce employed in the sector and 3.24% of the economy's value-added represented by the hotel industry. Following closely are Greece, Malta, Croatia, and Austria.

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Source: created with data from Eurostat

While countries at the top of the list may offer ample job opportunities, other factors must also be considered, such as wage levels and working conditions.

Working in the hotel sector offers both sides
From hotel chains to youth hostels and traditional to themed restaurants, there are abundant options for employment within the hospitality sector.
Hospitality services are always in demand, making it possible to find work almost anywhere, even in the smallest of towns.
It's a business that's all about pleasing people, whether in a luxury hotel or a more family-friendly setting, the motivation remains the same: to offer the best possible service for a memorable guest experience.
There are a lot of opportunities for cultural encounters, interacting with a diverse clientele allows for enriching experiences and encountering different cultures, ages, and professions daily.
Hospitality jobs often entail irregular working hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, making it challenging to balance work and personal life.
Many hotel jobs involve direct interaction with customers, some of whom may be challenging to handle. Maintaining composure and effectively managing such interactions is crucial.
Hospitality roles can be highly stressful, especially during peak periods. Employees must contend with demanding customers and strict time constraints.
Entry-level positions such as receptionists, housekeeping staff, or concierges often offer relatively low salaries.

Training and skills necessary to work in hotels in Europe

Given the diverse range of professions within the accommodation sector, the possibilities for studies are varied, spanning across different types and durations. While some positions, such as receptionist or room attendant, may be accessible without formal education, training can facilitate job search, lead to better salaries, and aid in professional advancement. For roles with higher responsibilities, formal education becomes imperative and may last several years.

What you need to know to get a job in hotel?

In Europe, numerous educational options exist for those interested in working in the hotel industry. Below is an overview of common study types and their approximate durations.

Innitial training
University degree
Masters in hotel industries and tourism management
Courses and qualifications

For those seeking the best places to study hotel management in Europe, Top Universities provides a list of the top European universities in the hospitality field. Switzerland dominates the top positions, with institutions like EHL Hospitality Business School, Swiss Hotel Management School, César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, Les Roches Global Hospitality Management Education, and the Hotel Institute Montreux.

Skills and aptitudes needed to work in hotel industry
Stress management
The hospitality profession can be demanding and stressful, especially during peak seasons.
Customer relationship skills
While guests primarily come to rest, a significant part of their satisfaction also comes from the service.
Team spirit
Regardless of the type of establishment, hospitality staff are always surrounded by colleagues.
Flexible mind
Hotels are environments where change is constant. Workers must be able to adapt to these changes.

How to get a hotel job in Europe

In this section, we'll explore the employment opportunities in the hotel sector in Europe, focusing on hotel jobs in Europe for foreigners. We'll look at the available roles in the hotel industry and examine the requirements for foreigners seeking employment in the region.

Which jobs are most demanded in Europe?

In the hospitality sector, there's a wide range of positions, and here are some of the most common and in-demand roles.

Receptionist
As the primary point of contact for guests, receptionists handle reservations, greet guests, sell hotel services, address complaints, provide solutions to problems, ensure guest needs are met, and handle billing upon departure. They also represent the hotel's image.
Concierge
In hospitality, beyond room quality and dining, personalised customer service is essential for a memorable guest experience, especially in luxury hotels and palaces. The concierge ensures guest satisfaction throughout their stay.
Housekeeping staff
Responsible for cleanliness, hygiene, and tidiness of guest rooms and public areas.
Laundress
Prepares and manages laundry for the staff or the establishment, and sometimes handles guests' clothing.
Valet
Takes charge of guests' vehicles at hotels, restaurants, casinos, and other venues, providing services like receiving guests, retrieving car keys, parking, and returning vehicles at the end of their stay.
Bellhop
Manages travelers' or guests' luggage, receiving and ensuring their safe delivery to the designated destination.
Hotel housekeeping manager
Oversees staff, schedules, and coordinates housekeeping and laundry activities, manages inventory, and ensures cleanliness and maintenance of rooms.
Yield manager
Raises and contributes to the company profits by adjusting pricing based on demand and available inventory, focusing on demand forecasting, profit growth, and sales control.
Hotel manager
Leads a multidisciplinary team, overseeing operations, ensuring guest satisfaction, managing budgets, implementing long-term strategies, and handling administrative tasks and staff management. The commercial aspect is integral, in optimising occupancy rates.
Show all
A chance to grow

While positions such as receptionist or housekeeping staff are in high demand, the demand for candidates for positions such as yield manager or hotel manager is not as significant, although the candidate pool is comparatively smaller.

What papers do you need to work in the hospitality sector as a foreigner?

To work in Europe in the hospitality sector, several requirements must be met, which can be grouped into two main categories: residency requirements and work requirements. Although they may seem separate, they are closely related because residency often depends on obtaining a job contract.

These requirements can vary depending on factors such as your circumstances, family situation, country of origin, educational level, specialty to be practiced, destination country, and many other variables.

Do you speak?

While English is typically a basic requirement, depending on the position, fluency in the local language may also be necessary for effective communication with clients. Therefore, if you're seeking hotel jobs in Europe for English speakers, focus on positions that don't require proficiency in the local language or consider targeting the United Kingdom where language barriers may be less of an issue.

Qualifications to work

While lower-level positions may not require formal education, for roles of responsibility, recognised qualifications are often necessary. Additionally, diplomas may need to be validated, and the requirements for recognition can vary depending on the destination country and area of specialisation. It's essential to inquire about this process early on to avoid delays and complications, as recognition procedures could take several months.

CDI contract is the best option

If you already possess local language skills and have your academic credentials recognised, you'll still need to secure a job before moving to your destination country. Obtaining a job contract is a prerequisite for residency.

Residence permit and work permit

Even with a job contract, obtaining a residence permit in the destination country is necessary. While requirements may vary, typically, documents such as recent passport photos, a copy of the passport, proof of accommodation, an employment contract, and applicable visa fees are needed. For a clearer understanding of the requirements specific to your case, it's advisable to visit the European Union immigration page, where you can easily find all the necessary information based on your circumstances.

How to land a job in the hotel and hospitality sphere in Europe?

If you're interested in the hospitality sector and wondering where to find hotel jobs in Europe, we've got you covered. We'll explore top job portals, examine the best places to find work, and take a look at freelance opportunities.

Job research online and offline

The best place to research the job market is online, with numerous job portals hosting thousands of job postings. These platforms allow you to filter job offers based on your desired sector, educational level, or required work experience.

  1. Job websites

    Among the various portals, some offer international or European-level job opportunities, while others are more local, focusing primarily on specific countries. International portals include eures.europa.eu (the European Union's portal), eurojobs.com, eurojobsites.com, experteer.com, indeed.com, page.com and LinkedIn.com.

  2. Networking and personal approach

    Another effective approach to job hunting is leveraging your network of contacts. Utilising your professional network is one of the most efficient ways to find employment. Reach out to individuals in your network who work in your field in Europe, whether they are friends, former classmates who have relocated to Europe and are now working there, or former colleagues from your home country who have emigrated to Europe.

  3. LinkedIn sources

    LinkedIn can also be a valuable tool for connecting with professionals in the hospitality field, even if you don't know them personally. When reaching out, be sure to introduce yourself and explain why you're contacting them. Some individuals may be willing to assist you. Additionally, try to expand your professional network by joining professional organisations or attending industry events.

Freelance and interim work in the hospitality sector

Working independently in the hospitality industry typically involves establishing a hotel, hostel, or similar establishment such as a rented apartment on Airbnb. This requires a significant investment of time and money, as well as adherence to numerous legal requirements and responsibilities, including licensing, compliance with safety regulations, and managing guest interactions. While it offers potential for autonomy and creativity, independent work in hospitality also carries risks and challenges associated with entrepreneurship.

Some advantages and disadvantages of working through temporary agencies
Temporary contracts offer the flexibility to adapt to changing work demands or personal circumstances.
Working temporary roles in various hotels or hospitality establishments provides exposure to different work environments and practices.
Temporary positions can offer opportunities to develop transferable skills such as customer service, time management, and teamwork.
Temporary roles may lead to permanent employment if the employer values the employee's performance and skills.
Temporary employees may face uncertainty regarding the continuity of their employment, leading to financial instability.
Temporary workers may not receive the same benefits as permanent employees, such as healthcare or retirement plans.
Temporary employees may have limited access to training programs or opportunities for career advancement compared to permanent staff.
Temporary positions may offer irregular hours or fluctuating workloads, resulting in unpredictable income levels.

Salaries in the hospitality field in Europe in 2024

Given the multitude of specialisations and the influence of various factors such as experience, the salary range in the hospitality sector varies significantly. To provide an overview of salaries in the sector, we'll refer to data from the International Labour Organization on monthly wages in the accommodation and food service activities in Europe in 2022.

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Source: created with data from ILO

According to this data, Belarus, Switzerland, and Luxembourg top the list with salaries above 4,000 US dollars. Following closely are Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands, with highly competitive salaries above 3,000 US dollars. At the bottom of the list with the lowest salaries are Albania, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine, with salaries below 400 US dollars.

faq

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are there specific language requirements for hotel jobs in Europe?

Can I work independently in the hospitality sector in Europe?

Is temporary work common in the hotel industry in Europe?

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We took photos from these sources: Clay Banks on Unsplash.

Authors: Luz
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