Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific launched its Starwood Careers Day, a division-wide effort aimed at attracting passionate individuals to explore a range of employment opportunities in dynamic Starwood properties across the region on last 21 March 2014. The event took place in more than 120 locations across Asia Pacific; key cities include Bangkok, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New Delhi, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

“This is an exciting time to join Starwood Asia Pacific. As we forge ahead with expansion, we are putting more and more focus on talent recruitment and development to fill the ever-growing need for the best and the brightest,” said Stephen Ho, President, Asia Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Starwood’s culture is defined by our belief that people want a better way to experience the world, and the success we enjoy today as one of the world’s most innovative hospitality brands is a testament to how we have unified our culture around this shared belief.”

In Malaysia, the events were held at three key venues: Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Penang. At the Kuala Lumpur event held at the MAI Bar of Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, the event saw Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for Starwood in SEA, Irene Lin kicking off the event with a symbolic hit of the gong along with 4 General Managers of Starwood hotels in Malaysia, namely Harvey Thompson (Le Méridien KL), Hratch Khatchanian (The Westin KL), Paolo Campillo (Aloft KL Sentral) and Michael Schlueter (The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa). From 10am to 4pm, around 296 candidates from various local colleges and universities such as Taylor’s University, KDU University College, University Technology MARA (UiTM) and BERJAYA University, to name a few, attended the remarkable event. A whole lot of engaging activities was planned for students to mingle with hotels’ associates in order to get a better understanding of the types of career opportunities available at each hotel. Career aspirants also had the opportunity to get special insights from the General Managers as they each shared their personal career journeys. Hotels which were represented at this event were Aloft KL Sentral, Le Méridien KL, Sheraton Imperial KL, The Westin KL and The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa.

Over in Penang, the event was staged at the Pinang Room of the newly opened Four Points by Sheraton Penang. Taking on a movie-cinema ambience, the event showcased a more casual and fun ambience with career aspirants given “movie tickets” and popcorns upon registration for entrance into the Pinang Room. Held from 10am to 5pm, the event saw the hotel’s General Manager, Kurt Vieren kicking off the activities with a welcome speech and a symbolic gesture of hitting the gong. Throughout the day, potential candidates got an insight into the hotel industry through activities such as napkin folding, bed making, food creation as well as getting up close and personal with key department heads to learn more about each department and its’ roles. Around 110 candidates turned up for the event from various local universities such as SEGI University, KDU University College and DISTED Stamford College to name a few. Hotels which were represented in this event were The Four Points by Sheraton Penang and The Andaman, A Luxury Collection Resort, Langkawi.

Across the South China Sea in Kota Kinabalu, the event was set at the Grand Ballroom of Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu. Started from 9.30am, the event begun with a welcome speech by the hotel’s General Manager, Fiona Hagan. This was followed by a speech by Guest of Honour, Chairman of Sabah Tourism Board, YAB Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who also officiated the event with a symbolic hit to the gong. He was then given a tour around the Ballroom where information and photos of graduates from the Starwood Careers programme were showcased, accompanied by Fiona Hagan as well as Kanit Sangmookda, General Manager of Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan. Throughout the day until 4pm, 159 career aspirants were able to learn more about starting a career with Le Méridien KK and Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan via several fun activities including towel origami, photo booth with hotel uniforms, sampling of illy Coffee, display of art pieces by an associate plus personal sessions with key department heads and both the General Managers as well. All the candidates came from well known local hospitality colleges and universities that included names like INTI College, Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) University College, Pusat Teknologi Pengurusan Lanjutan (PTPL), Ascot Academy College and Asian Tourism International (ATI) College. What’s more, potential candidates who had collected all 9 brand stamps from each of the booth, had a chance at the wheel of fortune game to win special prizes.

Starwood Malaysia aims to add over 150 positions by end 2014.

Starwood Careers Day 2014 encapsulates Starwood’s recruitment strategy that goes beyond talent attraction, to building meaningful long-term careers for those who join the organization. The event consolidates the strengths of Starwood’s nine hotel brands and offers talent the unique opportunity to explore a career that is broad-based in terms of portfolios, and one that offers highly sought-after regional and global exposure.

Grow with Starwood

Asia Pacific continues to fuel growth for Starwood globally. The company currently operates over 260 hotels, with an additional 200 hotels in the pipeline. In 2014, the company announced that it is on track to open over 30 hotels in the region – an average of one hotel every 12 days! As the fastest growing division, Starwood Asia Pacific employs over 73,000 associates, nearly half of all Starwood associates worldwide.

To sustain this growth trajectory, Starwood Careers was conceptualized in Asia Pacific to align with the region’s unique business needs. Through a focused and targeted talent management system, Starwood Careers embraces three strategic approaches: attracting and recruiting the right talent to fuel growth through effective employer branding; effectively developing high quality talent through enhanced development experiences; and retaining valued employees through partnering with them in their professional journey of achieving career aspirations. These initiatives encompass associates at all levels, reflecting the company’s concerted effort to nurture talent to be ready for the next stage of their careers. Starwood Careers Day 2014 kicked starts Starwood Asia Pacific’s goal to fill over 25,000 positions at all levels and functions by the end of 2014.

“Starwood Careers offers all talent, regardless of their level in the organization, a clear career path,” explained Claudia Albalaa, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “We provide our associates with clear guidelines and specifications on career advancement, including relevant skill development and professional programs — this is the greatest impact Starwood Careers brings to our people.”

Employer of Choice

Starwood Careers is already generating significant benefits, reflecting Starwood’s aim to become an employer of choice in the region. Many of the company’s hotels in Asia Pacific enjoy higher-than-industry-average employee retention rates. Starwood Careers has also helped advance employee diversity, including and fostering the local talent pool.

In Greater China, for example, an increasing number of hotel general managers are of Chinese descent – 49 compared to only four in 2009 – with over 60 candidates rising to high-level positions. Additionally, the total number of Chinese associates at managerial levels has more than doubled since 2009 to 4,000. In Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the General Manager Track Development program has developed a strong pipeline of female talent to assume leadership positions, and female general managers now make up a quarter of the total general manager positions in this region. Additionally, employee engagement is high, with close to 90% of Asia Pacific associates expressing a keen sense of belonging to Starwood.

This focused approach to employee development has garnered numerous awards throughout Asia Pacific. Recent accolades include Best in Employee Career Development conferred at the Benefits Asia Awards; Gold Award in Excellence in Employee Engagement and Excellence in Cross-border HR Program from the Human Resources Awards 2013; Best Employer India 2013 in Aon Hewitt’s Best Employer Study; 100 Best Human Resource Management Companies of 2013 in China; and most recently, Best Employee Engagement Award from the Human Resource Management Awards 2014.

Career of a Lifetime

With Starwood Careers Day’s extensive reach across Asia Pacific, regional candidates will have the chance to discover career growth opportunities within Starwood Asia Pacific, and meet with Human Resources representatives from various Starwood hotels in the city to share their professional aspirations and discuss career opportunities. Positions are available in the following fields: Front Office, Sales & Marketing, Human Resources, Revenue Management, Finance, Concierge, Rooms, Food & Beverage, Housekeeping, Kitchen, Stewarding, Engineering, Security, Accounting and Administration.

For those ready to learn, grow and shine, a career at Starwood is like no other. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.jobs.