Mauroof Mohamed – Director of Human Resources at Dusit Thani Maldives

Meet Mauroof Mohamed. The man behind the team at Dusit Thani Maldives. Our team at Travel Trade Maldives got to gain some insight into his exciting story. He is currently filling the role of Director of Human Resources at the resort.

My name is Mauroof. I have been working in hospitality industry for past 14 years. Before I joined Dusit Thani Maldives and the hospitality industry, I was a volunteer worker. I decided to go into HR field since I have background in psychology and counseling. I first joined Royal Island as an HR officer and moved to Soneva where I became as an HR manager for 5 years.

Back in 2012, I joined Dusit Thani for pre-opening as operational HR Manager. After a year I was promoted to Assistant HR Director and 8 months later I moved up as the HR Director. So, it’s been more than 8 years with Dusit Thani Maldives.

What would you say are some of your successes?
Developing people. For instance, throughout my HR career here at Dusit Thani Maldives, I have hired staff who are not HR professionals or didn’t have HR background. For example, the team that I have now, the HR coordinator was a Housekeeping Coordinator before. I have an HR officer also who was a Reservations Officer earlier and I have an Assistant Manager who was a Shop Keeper before. So, I think that’s the biggest achievement for me: developing people.

What would you say are the challenges you faced in your career in hospitality?
Every time when the country goes through political challenges. Every election, candidates were promising so much for the people. For example, previous electorate promised the tourism industry that they will sell shares to the people, that didn’t happen. Now we are talking about the guaranteed minimum wage of MVR 10,000 but still people are struggling to get that. Another pledge was made that people won’t need to stay on the island and they can go out, be with their family after their duty but that didn’t happen neither. So, we keep on gathering lots of frustrations and lots of unfulfilled promises to the people. When we have challenges, issues, or when we want to make a promise to the people, it will be good for the government to at least have a seminar or forum with the HR people, with the management and to form an alliance or have a plan to discuss what we can do to the people working in hospitality industry.

Believe it or not, our bloodline is fishing. That’s what we all say but I believe fishing is not the main industry where we generate income, as statistics suggest. Hospitality is of the utmost importance to Maldives, this is where we are getting most of our income. Most families are blessed to have at least 1 member working in hospitality and there are very few families only which do not have such. So, I feel that we all are heroes to the nation. Although we are in Maldives, there are people who are away from the family for 2-3 months. It’s not easy being away from the family but then again what choice do we have?

What advice would you give young adults who wants to pursue a career in hospitality?
Search for opportunity and don’t think about the job. Any job is perfect actually. Just come to a resort and just go with the flow. Find out what is the best fit for you. For example, the people who are doing the gardening, landscaping jobs, host stewarding jobs, those are the most important jobs any resort could have. It’s not a dirty job. Those are the beautiful jobs that make the guests happy, the staff happy. Come over here, show us your potential. We all are here to help you all. We will be making sure that you shine within the industry.

Can we maintain the tourism industry local versus foreign ratio?
These are sensitive issues and need to be addressed and changed at policy levels. For example, we all keep on complaining that the resorts don’t get enough locals. It’s not that the resort is not getting enough people, we are all working in international properties. 10 years back the government set the ratio at 60:40, Maldivians with 60%, foreigners with 40%, so we were obliged to maintain that ratio. Then the new government made it to 50:50, the ratio went down. Again, another government came and they said we don’t have enough Maldivians. People are also saying that unemployment is getting high so what they say and what they do are not matching. They are changing the ratio to 40% Maldivians, 60% expats and also saying that 20,000 employees will be given jobs. We have 15,000 people who are unemployed, yet they claim we don’t have enough Maldivians coming for a job.

As in case of Dusit Thani, if we advertise for a waiter job, I can tell you that we will have more than 500 applications. So, it is very difficult for us to choose. It’s not that we don’t have Maldivians for the job. I think we have enough Maldivians for the job but from government policy level they have to make sure that when they give a direction, whether it’s 50:50 ratio, or 40:60 or 60:40, it should be a decision made on the policy level. As HR, we will make sure that we maintain the ratio set by the government.

In light of this global pandemic where so many people lost their jobs, we have to learn how to live and survive. One of the biggest realization is to save up and spend more time with our loved ones. We also need to be extra careful about any decisions we make over emotions.

A lot of people may have been working in a resort without seeing their families since the lockdown while some even have loved ones just 30 mins away from the work place. But reality is do we have any other choice than sacrificing just to keep a smile in their family. It’s difficult to understand how your loved ones will feel. It’s the best sacrifice anyone can do.