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Tourism Management Perspectives
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tmp
Avoiding the hospitality workforce bubble: Strategies to attract and retain
generation Z talent in the hospitality workforce
Edmund Goha,⁎, Fevzi Okumusb
a School of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup, Western Australia 6027, Australia
b Rosen College of Hospitality Management, The University of Central Florida, 9907 Universal Boulevard Orlando, FL 32819, United States of America
A R T I C L E I N F O
Recruitment strategies in hospitality and
A B S T R A C T
Survival of the hospitality and tourism industry is highly dependent on a stable workforce to service the tourists
and customers. In a shrinking workforce market faced with traditionally high staff turnover and increased de-
parture of older workers, the key focus of this paper serves to provide practical recruitment strategies to attract
the next Generation of hospitality talent – Generation Z. This opinion piece provides 10 key talent management
strategies on how to appeal to Generation Z and entice them to join the hospitality sector. It presents practical
solutions adopted by the industry and innovative recruitment strategies to address the war on talent in hospi-
Despite Generation Z being the largest proportion of hospitality and
tourism workers, limited studies have examined this particular work-
force cohort (Goh & Jie, 2019; Goh & Kong, 2018; Goh & Lee, 2018;
Self, Gordon, & Jolly, 2019). More importantly, Solnet, Baum,
Robinson, and Lockstone-Binney (2016) strongly emphasised the need
for ongoing hospitality workforce research to address the evolving
workforce issues especially in the demographical area of older workers
retiring from the hospitality industry. This is supported by the meta-
analysis conducted by Baum, Kralj, Robinson, and Solnet (2016) where
only 27% (458 of 1700 articles) of hospitality journal articles were
workforce related, and only 40 out of 1700 articles were personal traits,
attributes and characteristics related workforce research. This sees a
paucity of workforce related studies despite the call for more research
10 years ago where only 2% of 2868 articles were categorized as HRM
related in the meta-analysis of hospitality and tourism discipline
(Ballantyne, Packer, & Axelsen, 2009).
From a talent management perspective, Thunnissen (2016) labelled
the complexity of understanding the ‘black box’ in talent management
and encouraged more research on the multiple levels and stakeholders
(such as prospective employees) involved in talent management. More
importantly, only a paucity of studies (9 out of 96 articles) in a meta-
analysis study on talent management publications between 2006 and
2014 examined talent management practices around recruitment, at-
traction and selection. In his 2033 vision, Baum (2019a) identified the
high turnover culture and eternal problems in recruitment as key pro-
blems of the hospitality industry that must be addressed by employers.
Hence, this is an urgent call for more research into providing practical
talent management practices in the battle for talent (Baum, 2019b;
Gallardo-Gallardo & Thunnissen, 2016; Giousmpasoglou & Marinakou,
2019; Tracey, 2014).
The authors look to pursue these practical recruitment strategies to
attract the Generation Z hospitality workforce through an exploratory
literature search. It is important to highlight that this opinion piece is
not about conducting a systematic review but rather an exploratory
review (Hjalager, 2010) of some of the academic literature on attracting
and retaining Generation Z hospitality workers. Given the aim of this
opinion paper, the keywords ‘Generation Z employees’ OR ‘Generation
Z talent’ ‘hospitality workforce’ OR ‘hospitality recruitment’ were used
in titles, keywords, and abstracts to search for relevant literature. The
literature search adopted a similar approach recommended by Deery
and Jago (2015) to focus on main hospitality journals (Chang &
McAleer, 2012; McKercher, 2012). Next, five other databases (Scopus,
EBSCO, Elsevier, Proquest, and Emerald) as recommended by Yung and
Khoo-Lattimore (2017) were used to extend the literature search. The
search was not time-bound due to the emerging nature of Generation Z
workforce in hospitality research (Goh & Lee, 2018). The paper then
identifies ten practical recommendations issues that might help to drive
future directions to attract and retain Generation Z hospitality em-
Received 1 March 2019; Received in revised form 17 June 2019; Accepted 2 November 2019
⁎ Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: [email protected] (E. Goh), [email protected] (F. Okumus).
Tourism Management Perspectives 33 (2020) 100603
2211-9736/ © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2. Literature review
2.1. Hospitality and tourism contribution to the economy
The workforce talent running the hospitality and tourism engine
creates 322 million jobs worldwide and contributes an astounding $2.3
trillion to the economy (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2018). The
magnitude trickledown effect sees 1 in 10 jobs associated to hospitality
and tourism, and contributes to 11.5% of the world's Gross Domestic
Product by 2028 (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2018). In Aus-
tralia, the hotel ecosystem employs 380,000 talented hospitality pro-
fessions across 6807 hotels throughout the six states in an industry
worth $14 billion (Australia Hotel Association, 2015). Currently, there
is a hospitality skills shortage in Australia experiencing a shortfall of
123,000 hospitality jobs needed to be filled by 2020 (Deloitte, 2015).
This workforce shortage is exacerbated with a further 45,134 hotel
rooms (272 hotels) to be constructed by 2025 in Australia (Tourism
Accommodation Australia, 2018). This optimistic forecast unlocks
promising career prospects underlining vital workforce gaps for eligible
and competent Generation Z talent to meet the labour demand of a
developing hospitality industry.
2.2. Decline of the older workforce talent
According to the Australia Department of Employment (2014), 20%
of the hospitality workforce are aged 45–64, and majority (43%) of
hospitality workers are aged between 15 and 24. In Europe, 19.6% of
the hospitality workforce are aged 25 years and below (HOTREC,
2019). This figure is higher in the US where 33.1% of the hospitality
labour force is below 25 years old (United States Department of Labour,
2018). This presents the hospitality workforce dominated by young
talent and will continue to be younger as older workers retire and leave
the industry. Hospitality workforce experts have labelled this phe-
nomenon as the “perfect storm” where older workers will leave due to
natural life cycle attrition as younger hospitality talent enter the
workforce (Solnet et al., 2016). A younger workforce will bring along
generational traits such as increased willingness to provide 24 h /
7 days per week / 365 days service to hotel customers. In addition,
there will be a hierarchical power shift where older workers report to
younger employees who will hold managerial positions (Solnet, Kralj, &
Kandampully, 2012). This can create tension and disrespect from older
workers viewing younger hospitality workers as inexperience and
adding little value (Mooney, 2016) but the reality is that a younger
workforce will replace older workers and be a major demographic
stronghold in the hospitality sector in the near future.
2.3. Generation Z workforce talent
Attracting and retaining hospitality talent is a perennial and perti-
nent issue as there is a workforce shortage and limited career longevity
of hospitality graduates. Upon graduation, 29.1% of hospitality grad-
uates leave the hospitality sector within 10 years (Brown, Arendt, &
Bosselman, 2014). Other similar studies have reported 10%–20% (Wu,
Morrison, Yang, Zhou, & Cong, 2014) to 32% (Ly & Adler, 2009) of
graduates' intention to leave the industry and 48% (King, McKercher, &
Waryszak, 2003) to 70% (Blomme, Van Rheede, & Tromp, 2009) of
actual turnover. Hospitality companies in Australia are facing recruit-
ment challenges in an industry facing rapid expansions and high labour
turnover. According to The Australia Department of Employment
Survey (2014), there is a 28% vacancy rate among hospitality em-
ployers. This sees a heavier reliance on the younger employees to en-
sure workforce continuity in the hospitality sector.
A pivotal emerging workforce is the Generation Z (year of birth
between 1995 and 2009) where majority are about to graduate and
enter the workforce (Goh & Lee, 2018). In the next four years, Gen-
eration Z will take up over 20% of total jobs (Deloitte, 2017). This is a
significant workforce cohort to be reckoned with, as they will be the
future hospitality leaders. Despite the pivotal role of Generation Z in the
workforce, limited studies have been conducted to reveal general
workplace attitudes. Such studies have found workplace traits of Gen-
eration Z to display confidence, embrace team dynamics, seek future
career assurance, desire workplace delight, and prefer independence to
being micro managed (Ozkan & Solmaz, 2015). This demographic co-
hort has an appetite for career progression and is ready to put in the
hard yards but may lack particular essential hospitality crafts needed at
work (Deloitte, 2017; Park & Gursoy, 2012). Generation Z also wants
companies to acclimate to social media, provide opportunities to work
in more than one country, and provide ongoing feedback over formal
annual appraisals (Self et al., 2019).
The reality is that after more than four decades of hospitality
workforce research, the perennial concerns of poor working settings
such as low salary, irregular working times, and labour intensity still
exist (Goh & Lee, 2018; Jose & Hipolito, 2016; Pizam & Lewis, 1979;
Richardson, 2009; Solnet et al., 2016). So what should recruiters do to
entice Generation Z talent to join the hospitality sector? Based on re-
viewing relevant research and practical articles on Generation Z and
talent management, this paper recommends ten strategies for hospi-
tality recruiters to engage with prospective Generation Z talent in
3. Talent management strategies to attract generation Z
3.1. Focus on job functional attitudes
Employees from Generation Z view the hospitality profession as fun,
interesting, exciting, fulfilling, and encompasses travel opportunities
over salary bands (Goh & Lee, 2018). This offers a different perspective
to other hospitality workforce cohorts (such as Baby-Boomers and
Generation X) who reportedly held undesirable outlooks about the
hospitality industry as low remunerating with poor working conditions
((Robinson et al., 2014)Robinson, Kralj, Solnet, Goh, & Callan, 2016;
Sheehan, Grant, & Garavan, 2018). To combat this negative stigma,
recruiters should draw away negative attention to emphasize on the fun
aspects that entails and the hospitality industry is not a typical 9 to 5
The fun factor is important among workers as identified in a meta-
analysis of 143 hospitality research articles, where 10% (14 journal
articles) have highlighted the importance of a fun workplace as a de-
terminant of job satisfaction in hospitality (Kong, Jiang, Chan, & Zhou,
2018). Given the importance and benefits of workplace play, it has
become increasingly ubiquitous among companies (Petelczyc, Capezio,
Wang, Restubog, & Aquino, 2018). One of the easiest way to create fun
at work is through activities such as weekly sporting events between
divisions (Vermeulen, Koster, Loos, & Van Slobbe, 2016) or Lego Ser-
ious Play to allow staffs to express their ideas and enhance bonding
through Lego bricks construction (Wengel, McIntosh, & Cockburn-
Wootten, 2016). In the age of digital technology and social media, some
companies use gamification as an aided play at work to resonate with
Millenniums and Generation Z employees to enhance employee
learning, motivation and engagement (Robson, Plangger, Kietzmann,
McCarthy, & Pitt, 2016). For example, the Marriott Hotel Group uses
social media as a technology apparatus to attract younger prospective
employees, where players are able to run their own kitchen called “My
Marriott Hotel” on Facebook (Freer, 2012).
3.2. Provide a visual career pathway
The Generation Z employee expects healthy trajectory in her/his
career pathway and expects to move up the career ladder quickly. More
importantly, there is a pre-established perception that hospitality as a
profession is more of a temporary occupation as compared to a well-
defined career pathway (Tung, Tang, & King, 2018). Younger
E. Goh and F. Okumus Tourism Management Perspectives 33 (2020) 100603
hospitality employees are more impatient about climbing the career
ladder, and more likely to leave the company if they are not promoted
within 6months (Smith, Clement, & Pitts, 2018). This sees the im-
portance of career counselling by HRM in hospitality to engage with
Generation Z about their future career pathway through reliable man-
agement traineeships such as the established Graduate Management
Traineeship program and professional advancement programs.
The appetite for career success is clearly documented in past re-
search where 40.2% of hospitality graduates rated “holding a very high
level powerful job” as the most important career goal upon graduation
and 88.4% expected to be a department manager within 5 years of
graduation (Ly & Adler, 2009). One solution is to provide career ac-
celeration courses. For instance, the Toga Far East Hotel Group (2019a,
2019b) offers accelerated leadership courses such as the “Future lea-
ders' course”, and “Senior management leadership course” for current
staff to advance their management abilities and talents to rise up the
If employees are unable to visualise their career pathway with a
company, they will eventually leave the company (Reilly, 2018). Hotels
should continue to offer and strengthen their graduate management
traineeship program as this traditional career trajectory is well re-
cognised and accepted among hospitality students as a career pathway
in the industry (Nachmias & Walmsley, 2015). The customised pathway
must show progression throughout the various hierarchy and not
simply stop at middle management as it is important to demonstrate a
long-term career planning trajectory as past studies have reported
hospitality managers experiencing stagnation and are disengaged due
to a lack of meaningful career planning (McGuire, Polla, & Heidi,
3.3. Travel opportunities/flexible scheduling to allow travel
The future hospitality worker is a global employee expected to work
across properties in different countries. In fact, most studies have
identified the opportunity to travel in hospitality and tourism jobs as a
motivational factor in joining the industry (Brown et al., 2014; Buzinde
et al., 2018; Tung et al., 2018). The freedom to travel during work can
be seen as a lifestyle mobility, which is attractive to younger employees
who sees little distinction between work and leisure aspects and
changing jobs is seen as a positive lifestyle choice (Cohen, Duncan, &
Thulemark, 2015). Concomitantly, employees are prepared and believe
that they will be in a more favourable career advancement position if
they are willing to be more mobile (Cassel, Thulemark, & Duncan,
2018). Hospitality recruiters must continue to offer inter-departmental
training and work opportunities in different countries. This is essential
for Generation Z as they yearn for a dynamic hospitality environment
faced with excitement. Given the ever-increasing expansion of hotel
conglomerates such as Wynham, Marriott, ACCOR and IHG, the pro-
spects of working between departments, hotels, and countries must be
strategically designed as part of career planning for Generation Z hos-
pitality employees. However, the desire for global mobility can en-
counter barriers amidst the increasing restrictions to immigration po-
licies in countries such as Australia, US, and the UK. Even though some
countries such as Australia provide flexible work options for interna-
tional students, there is a restriction of a maximum 20 h per week
within the country (Ruhanen, Robinson, & Breakey, 2013).
3.4. Provide training on the customer service skills and emerging hotel
Remember that Generation Z is young and may not have sufficient
work experience to provide service excellence. Given the increased
employee / customer contact and inseparability nature of the service
industry, a lack of customer training can further exacerbate help-
lessness and burnout among hospitality employees (Koc & Bozkurt,
2017). Although tertiary education providers equip graduates with
theoretical and technical skills (Goh & King, 2019), soft skills such as
‘script acting’ are often underdeveloped (Nyanjom & Wilkins, 2016).
Good customer service training can therefore enhance employees'
ability and confidence to meet complex demands from customers. More
importantly, customer service training will increase service orientation
and employee engagement (Johnson, Park, & Bartlett, 2018).
Therefore, talent managers should depict the veracity of the service
intensive industry in hospitality, which is the crux and fundamental
reason hospitality businesses exist. Hospitality firms must be prepared
to invest in training new talent to bring them to speed with current
service orientations and brand mantras, and how to engage in service
excellence. For instance, hotel conglomerates such as ACCOR estab-
lished a training compendium titled ‘Peopleology’ and ‘Heartist’ focusing
on the concept of customer engagement through stories, where all
employees must undergo (ACCOR, 2019). Other hotel groups such as
TFE Hotels have introduced their ‘Go MAD – Go make a difference’
training to empower employees to step outside the norm and provide
service to create memorable experiences for their guests (TFE, 2019a,
Although Generation Z has been labelled as techno-savvy, it must
not be taken for granted that they are well positioned and knowl-
edgeable about technology in the hospitality industry. It is important to
acknowledge that technology will continue to alter the hospitality work
environment with a shift towards more automation (Baum, 2019a).
Hence, recruiters must reassure Generation Z that the use of hospitality
technology is to leverage system efficiencies (Wirtz et al., 2018), and
the core personal human contact remains an important hotel service
constituent (Golubovskaya, Robinson, & Solnet, 2017). Therefore,
training should emphasize on basics such as property management
software - OPERA (Sharma, 2016), to keyless check-ins to increase the
guest experience (Ivanov, Gretzel, Berezina, Sigala, & Webster, 2019;
Solnet et al., 2019), using OTA platforms (Huang, Goh, & Law, 2019),
and understanding big data to support strategic management decisions
such as forecasting room occupancy (Leung, 2019). More importantly,
the focus should be using technological innovations that is actually
meaningful for customers to increase satisfaction and loyalty (Lemy,
Goh, & Jie, 2019).
3.5. Organise “open days” to have a taste of hospitality work
Hospitality recruiters can invite prospective employees to visit their
hotels by organising ‘open days’ to have a composition of their potential
workplace and visualise working conditions. In fact, this concept is very
common in hospitality educational institutions as a form of student
recruitment strategy as it allows prospects a showroom experience and
to ‘test drive’ the product (Goh, Nguyen, & Law, 2017). This will address
the anxiety of possible OH&S (occupational health and safety) issues
and help gauge the perceived risk that they are willing to take. This will
also give them a reality check to see if they are ‘cut out’ for the hospi-
tality industry and self-assess their emotional intelligence.
The offering of open day training helps to provide transparency on
job expectations, which reduces turnover. For example, the Australian
Department of Jobs and Small Business (2019) has introduced a new
employment readiness scheme “Youth Jobs PATH” designed to support
youths in being successful in their job outcomes. This is delivered
through 3 stages: 1). prepare job seeks with necessary skills and qua-
lifications; 2). trial to allow young job seekers with voluntary internship
opportunities to gain real experience to see how they fit in the work-
place; and 3). hire to motivate employers with $10,000 financial in-
centive to hire suitable young job seekers. Hospitality companies can
take advantage of such recruitment schemes to invite eligible job see-
kers to volunteer as a form of screening and evaluating suitable fit with
E. Goh and F. Okumus Tourism Management Perspectives 33 (2020) 100603
3.6. Be transparent about the pay structure
The perceptions of hospitality as a low paying industry has been a
perennial image among hospitality workers since the 1970s (Pizam &
Lewis, 1979) to the 21st century (Barron, Leask, & Fyall, 2014;
Richardson, 2009). Although the issue of low pay may not be of im-
mediate importance at this stage, this could be an interim phase until
Generation Z faces more financial pressure from life commitments.
Recruiters must be pragmatic about the perennial concerns about hos-
pitality being a low salary industry, and honour the minimum wages
stipulated under the Hospitality Industry General Award 2010
(Australia Fairwork, 2019).
Another alternative to make the pay structure more attractive is to
offer monetary incentives and bonuses to reward service excellence.
This can be implemented and formally communicated across different
departments with clear transparency (Jaworski, Ravicandran,
Karpinski, & Singh, 2018). For example, housekeepers who pass their
room inspections, front office agents who upsells a room, or food and
beverage attendants who sells a top shelf wine. This will stimulate
service performance and encourage healthy competition in the work-
3.7. Equal opportunities and fairness/sustainable work environment
The concern about potential discrimination needs to be embraced
strategically by hospitality recruiters given the diverse pool of the
hospitality labour force. There are various types of discriminations re-
ported in the hospitality industry such as sexual discrimination (Ineson,
Yap, & Whiting, 2013), salary (Campos-Soria, Garcia-Pozo, & Sanchez-
Ollero, 2015), gender identity (Remington & Kitterlin-Lynch, 2018),
age (Poulston & Jenkins, 2016), and physical appearance (Chiang &
Saw, 2018). Generation Z view equality and fairness highly in the so-
ciety. As hospitality companies become more global, their workforce
becomes increasingly diverse to cater to their international environ-
ment. A diverse workforce sees several benefits such as superior quality
ideas generated from alternative decision-making (Madera, Dawson, &
Guchait, 2016; Madera, Dawson, Guchait, & Belarmino, 2017;
Manoharan, Gross, & Sardeshmukh, 2014). Hence, companies have
made it a priority to recruit a diverse workforce (Reynolds, Rahman, &
Bradetich, 2014). For example, large hospitality companies such as
Marriott, Wynham and Hilton who are highly ranked on their diversity
management, focus on integrating more minorities (such as Blacks,
Latinos and Asians) into their workforce ratio (Gajjar & Okumus, 2018).
Another diversity strategy that hospitality companies can adopt is to
ensure more women representation in leadership positions, and the
inclusion of indigenous community groups in their human resource
planning growth. For example, the ACCOR Hotel group has initiated
diversity strategies to bridge the indigenous employment gap by com-
mitting to help develop indigenous talent through the AccorHotels
Indigenous employment program to train (over 5 days) and prepare
prospective indigenous employees for a job at ACCOR (Australian
Government Jobactive, 2016). Other hotel groups such as TFE Hotels
aims to increase their indigenous workforce representation to 32% by
2018 at Adina Vibe Hotel Darwin (Indigenous Business Australia,
2017). In order to tackle gender diversity, companies such as ACCOR
has committed to achieving a 50% representation of female General
Managers (Wilkinson, 2015). Therefore, it is important for talent
managers to ensure the inclusion of a diverse labour force in recruit-
ment paraphernalia, and physical presence during career recruitment
The positive correlation between employee engagement in sustain-
ability practices and a hotel's environmental policies must also be ac-
knowledged (Chan, Hona, Chan, & Okumus, 2014). Research has re-
ported younger generation of employees to better embrace green and
sustainable practices, and would prefer to work in a hotel that adopted
sustainable business decisions and culture (Goh, Muskat, & Tan, 2017)
such as company initiatives on minimising food wastage (Goh & Jie,
2019), and increased social responsibility (Self et al., 2019). Hence,
hotels should consider emphasising on their sustainable practices to
attract like-minded Generation Z workers.
3.8. Getting family members and friends involved
This might sound cliché but Generation Z hold on to the opinions of
their family and friends with high regards when seeking a hospitality
career. Research shows that employees communicate and seek approval
about their hospitality career with family members before (Lee & Lee,
2018) they begin their career and during their career (McGinley, O'Neil,
Damaske, & Mattila, 2014). Hence, talent managers must involve family
and friends of prospective Generation Z in the early stages of the job
seeking decision process even while they are studying their hotel degree
(Goh, Nguyen, & Law, 2017).
Hospitality recruiters can utilise open days to invite family and
friends to provide parents a quick understanding and present possible
career journeys for their young adults who are about to embark on a
hospitality career. Another strategy is through internal referral pro-
grams where current staff can recommend their family members or
friends who have the right aptitude, certifications and experience as a
prospective candidate. For example, ACCOR Hotels has an employee
referral program where current employees get a bonus for a successful
referral (ACCOR, 2019).
3.9. Establish a mentorship/buddy program
One of the entry barriers is fear of the unknown. Therefore, men-
toring programs such as Graduate Management Trainee (Chang &
Busser, 2017) can help mentees improve job performance (Li, Wong, &
Kim, 2016), and service quality (Kong, Wang, & Fu, 2015). A mentoring
program also benefits the mentor in feeling recognised, which increases
occupation engagement and commitment to the company (Jung &
A common mentoring practice in hospitality is through a buddy
system where existing staff mentor new hospitality employees. A buddy
system helps new employees get up to speed on service performance
expectations, and helps new employees manage their emotional labour
more effectively. For example, as reported by Bratton and Watson
(2018), the General Manager of a Hotel Chain mentioned the benefits of
a buddy system for Department Heads and Team Leaders as a way to
nurture new employees in cultivating understanding, not to get flus-
tered, and to be able to keep calm.
3.10. Share their success stories and testimonials
The use of successful alumnus that have gone through the hospi-
tality journey is a great way to bond with Generation Z undergraduates
through hospitality institutions. This area of alumni contribution is
valued (Wang, Kitterlin-Lynch, & Williams, 2018) but under researched
(Kim & Jeong, 2018). Furthermore, hospitality students are motivated
and consider a long-term employment as an important factor when they
graduate (Frawley, Goh, & Law, 2019). Talent managers can feature
alumni students in hospitality career prospectus through endorsements
and recruitment expos to establish interest and recruitment leads for
Generation Z to look upon as role models. This useful recruitment
strategy serves as concrete proof of attainment and inspiration for
Generation Z when deciding on a hospitality career.
This opinion piece has responded to the calls for research by various
leading studies in talent management and workforce studies in hospi-
tality. First, this paper addressed the demographical shift into under-
standing the ‘perfect storm’ of younger employee talent replacing older
E. Goh and F. Okumus Tourism Management Perspectives 33 (2020) 100603
workers (Goh & Lee, 2018; Solnet et al., 2016) and more personal
characteristics of various hospitality workforce segments (Baum et al.,
2016). This paper also focused on a particular exclusive talent man-
agement group, Generation Z to help distil the ‘blackbox’ complexity of
talent management (Thunnissen, 2016). More importantly, the crux of
this paper contributes to the scarcity of practical talent management
studies (Gallardo-Gallardo & Thunnissen, 2016) by developing practical
recruitment strategies for hospitality companies to better attract and
lure Generation Z talent to the hospitality industry.
It is imperative to acknowledge the ‘perfect storm’ happening in the
hospitality sphere, where mature employees (Baby Boomers and Gen X)
are retiring from the hospitality industry. Talent managers should in-
vest in young emerging talents such as the Generation Z as they will be
the hospitality leaders of tomorrow. If there are not enough new em-
ployees entering to replace the older workforce in a developing hotel
industry, there is a potential ‘hospitality workforce bubble’ that will burst.
As a result, there will be a huge human capital vacuum in the hospi-
tality sector that has historically suffered from a high turnover rate. As
the war on hospitality talent intensifies, talent managers must ask the
pivotal question ‘What must be done to charm and keep Generation Z talent
in the hospitality and tourism business?’
5. Limitations and future research
While this paper provides insights into recruiting Generation Z ta-
lent, there are limitations for future researchers to cogitate. First, the
literature search only included publications in English, which presents
the possibility of publications in other languages, which may produce
divergent outcomes. Second, only peer-reviewed journal articles were
considered given the time constraints. Future researchers may consider
including other sources such as conference proceedings, books, thesis,
and dissertations in their literature search to cover a wider scope. Third,
the literature review was exploratory in nature given the nature of the
paper being an opinion paper. This presents a pivotal gap for future
researchers to conduct a full comprehensive systematic review with
structured reporting categories. Finally, the interpretation of literature
studies presents an element of subjectivity. Nevertheless, the authors
have provided strong referencing support to substantiate the analysis
with an objective lens.
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E. Goh and F. Okumus Tourism Management Perspectives 33 (2020) 100603
Dr. Edmund Goh is Deputy Director, School of Business
and Law, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.
Edmund sees his research as the nexus to address education
and industry gaps. He has published in leading journals
such as Tourism Management, International Journal of
Hospitality Management, International Journal of
Contemporary Hospitality Management, Journal of
Vacation Marketing, Journal of Travel and Tourism
Marketing, and Tourism Recreation Research.
Professor Fevzi Okumus is the CFHLA Preeminent Chair
Professor within the Hospitality Services Department at the
University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality
Management. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International
Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management (IJCHM).
Professor Okumus has published widely with more than
100 referred journal articles in leading journals, including
Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, Journal of
Business Research, Service Industries Journal, Management
Decision, International Journal of Hospitality Management,
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality
Management, and Journal of Hospitality and Tourism
E. Goh and F. Okumus Tourism Management Perspectives 33 (2020) 100603
- Avoiding the hospitality workforce bubble: Strategies to attract and retain generation Z talent in the hospitality workforce
- Literature review
- Hospitality and tourism contribution to the economy
- Decline of the older workforce talent
- Generation Z workforce talent
- Talent management strategies to attract generation Z
- Focus on job functional attitudes
- Provide a visual career pathway
- Travel opportunities/flexible scheduling to allow travel
- Provide training on the customer service skills and emerging hotel technology
- Organise “open days” to have a taste of hospitality work
- Be transparent about the pay structure
- Equal opportunities and fairness/sustainable work environment
- Getting family members and friends involved
- Establish a mentorship/buddy program
- Share their success stories and testimonials
- Limitations and future research