Job Profile: Working as a hotel housekeeper
Sometimes looking for an entry-level job seems a lot more difficult than it should. Every position you see advertised calls for 2-3 years' experience, an advanced degree, or more. But the hotel and accommodations industry, which employed 1.9 million Americans in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is an excellent place to look when you don't have a lot of formal schooling or are looking for a ground-level position.
Housekeeping is a great place to find just such a job. According to the BLS, 23.5 percent of positions in the hotel industry in 2008 were held by maids and housekeepers.
What they do:
Quite simply, housekeepers are responsible for tidying up rooms before and after guests stay at the hotel. On a broad level, they help ensure guest satisfaction by making the room as clean and comfortable as possible, so that the guest can relax and enjoy his stay to the fullest. This contributes to the guest's overall impression of the property and has a direct effect on whether or not he chooses to stay their again, thereby affecting revenue.
More specific duties of the job include: changing sheets and towels; vacuuming carpets and mopping tile floors; dusting cabinets, televisions, etc.; reporting and replacing broken items such as drapes or ironing boards; and emptying wastebaskets. Housekeepers also keep bathrooms fully stocked with toiletries, cosmetics and other convenience items the hotel might supply, and report any improperly functioning furniture or equipment in the room that might interfere with the guest's comfort and safety.
What they need:
Housekeeping is a great occupation for those who do not have much formal schooling. In many cases, a positive attitude and competent personality are more important to employers than a candidate's level of education. In general, a high school diploma or its equivalent is enough, but sometimes even that is not necessary.
Large hotel chains often have their own training programs, which might include training videos or interactive computer lessons. For the most part, on-the-job training is the industry standard.
Because housekeeping is a very physical occupation, potential candidates should be comfortable being on their feet for long periods of time, and be in overall physical health. Bending, stretching, and minor lifting are usually par for the course when cleaning.
What they earn:
The average salary for a hotel housekeeper is $25,286, according to CBsalary.com. The 25th and 75th percentiles of salaries fall between $17,574 and $30,692, respectively. According to the BLS, the median hourly rate for maids and housekeepers in 2008 was $8.75.
While the growth in this occupation is projected to be slower than average -- 5 percent in the hotel industry versus 11 percent across all industries from 2008-2018 -- the need for housekeepers is not going away anytime soon, as the job is not one that can realistically be replaced by machines or done away with. Further good news is that the number of rooms is projected to grow most in limited-service properties (i.e. those that do not serve food), which may not need certain types of service employees but will definitely need housekeepers.
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