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Employment and international companies

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 20 aprile 2001

Important companies of international standing, like Sol Melia, have come to Italy with very ambitious near-term development projects; Asian luxury-hotel companies are staging the penetration of our market; in Rimini – which seems to me an extraordinary circumstance, considering the characteristics of the area and of the hotel chain in question – a Meridien has opened. These are but the most visible and directly discernible aspects of the penetration process being developed by large world groups on the Italian territory. While the conglomeration and globalisation phenomena have been typical of the economic policies of the last few decades, not only in tourism, I believe that in no other context it will cause so many significant changes as in Italy. Thinking of the consequences this process is going to have on the approach to the management of human resources, we can understand the impact of such developments. In Italy, the fragmentation of small-sized hotels, hardly ever related to high-profile brands, has sometimes favoured the development of unclear industrial relations, based on precarious employment and with limited career prospects. Conversely, as part of a downward spiral, the limited marketable value of the skills acquired has often not contributed to stimulating constant commitment on the part of workers. Large hotel groups are the bearers of educational projects, which are sometimes too closely modelled after their own philosophies, but certainly do provide an opportunity for greater functionality in this field of employment, and a positive influence in the professional choices of many young people who are currently the hostages of contingent situations, with a great amount of precariousness. A few issues ago, we published the letter of a barman who had been hired by a hotel of a large company after a training period abroad, and complained about the poor remuneration which was forcing him to leave Italy again. Of course, the new entrant companies are not pursuing high-wage policies either, but they favour a dialogue in terms of professional value. The difficulty in recruiting skilled professionals will make a difference in future, and already there is a more favourable attitude towards “the best”. In order to become “the best”, in addition to natural talent and good will, one needs definite points of reference capable to transfer knowledge and know-how. For this reason I believe that in addition to the important companies already present on our market, the growth of large foreign concerns operating in Italy will no doubt make a positive contribution to the future of the tourist professions in our Country.

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