Housekeeping was an area not taken by many students from the catering colleges. There were more graduates from the other streams working as housekeepers. When I graduated in 1997 from IHM Mumbai and joined a reputed hotel group we were only 5 Management Trainees from all over the country, who had taken Housekeeping as a career. We were a batch of 45 Management trainees. The work place was dominated by lady housekeeping managers and the room attendants were all men.
…..I used to wonder why men couldn’t be good housekeepers. And felt that there was certainly a need and there were plenty of opportunities not just in India but also in countries overseas.
Housekeeping is a science more than an art. It requires men, material resources and machines in a good balance. It requires you to have an exceptional eye for detail and good people skills. Can men and women be different at these qualities?
I would say “no” Men are also more open to different shift timings, which can be an advantage for the hotel.
It requires you to prepare for the job and when I was in the catering college I knew I had to take up accommodation operations as there was so much to learn there. We were handling interiors, taking care of all the areas, be it floors, restaurants and other public areas, had a fabulous inventory to maintain and manage and also handling the largest department in terms of manpower and area covered. There was something new to learn each day. The toiletries were changing, the chemicals were improving and more automation was coming in the department. I joined the industry at the time when there was transition happening. SOPs were being made for all operations and were getting standardized.
I think a lot has happened in the last 10 years. Today you walk into any hotel you’ll find quite a few male housekeepers. Many executive housekeepers are men and yes they are also going on to becoming the General Managers of the hotels.