Home >companies >people >Five questions with Simon F. Cooper

How do you think India can meet the aspirations of its young people?

You are going to meet their expectations only if you give them careers. I don’t just mean jobs, I mean careers. India has a long career in hospitality industry. You have great examples in Taj, Oberoi, Leela, ITC. So, this is a country where a career in hospitality young people really understand.

Companies and recruiters speak of a skill gap that they encounter when they hire entry-level people. How can this gap be addressed?

Clearly, there are schools that are better than others. We try to partner with those schools that are going to produce the trained graduates that we want. It is really a question of making sure you find a right school and they will deliver the leaders of the future.

What are the three things you look for in a young person you are considering for a position?

Attitude. Attitude. Attitude. They got to have the right attitude to learn, to run the hospitality business. Typically, there are all sorts of different ways, you can look at young people. But ultimately, at the end of the day, you got to have a positive attitude. It helps if you have a passion for the business, but that’s our job to give you the passion for the business. It also helps if you have ambition. If you really want three things, it’s attitude, passion and ambition. If you put these three things together, we will be pretty happy.

Most young people have, over the past decade-and-a-half, gravitated towards jobs in the services sector. Do you see that changing?

I think the pattern has to shift towards manufacturing. I think you have about 8 million workforce entering job market every year. I think that is India’s greatest asset or India’s greatest liability. So, you have to find work and careers for those people. You are not going to find it all in services or hospitality or manufacturing. It’s really critical to have all aspects of economy growing.

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