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 In a one-page paper, discuss what lessons did these two articles hold for you and your potential employers? 

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Article 1: Read the whole article 

Article 2: Read from page 109-122  

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Attachment 1

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Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism

ISSN: 1531-3220 (Print) 1531-3239 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wttt20

Oh the places they’ll go. Examining the early career path of hospitality alumni

Wayne W. Smith, Jeremy C. Clement & Robert E. Pitts

To cite this article: Wayne W. Smith, Jeremy C. Clement & Robert E. Pitts (2018) Oh the places they’ll go. Examining the early career path of hospitality alumni, Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, 18:2, 109-122, DOI: 10.1080/15313220.2017.1416726

To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/15313220.2017.1416726

Published online: 20 Dec 2017.

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Oh the places they’ll go. Examining the early career path of hospitality alumni Wayne W. Smitha, Jeremy C. Clementa and Robert E. Pittsb

aDepartment of Hospitality and Tourism Management, School of Business – College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA; bDepartment of Marketing and Management, School of Business – Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA

ABSTRACT This research adds to the overall literature and academic understanding of early career progression of hospitality profes- sionals. The results of an analysis of the career profiles of gradu- ates of an undergraduate business school majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management indicate that there are five potential career paths for hospitality professionals graduating from this program. The groups are (1) Traditional Hospitality; (2) Stallers; (3) Nonhospitality; (4) Loyalists; and (5) Entrepreneurs. The findings indicate that there is substantial job movement in the first three years after graduation. Further, if promotion happens within the first 6 months to a year, graduates are more likely to stay with the organization. Finally, those that leave hospitality are likely to go into highly related fields such as health care and real estate.

ARTICLE HISTORY Received 5 July 2017 Accepted 20 November 2017

KEYWORDS Career path; sequencing; CLUSTAL; hospitality careers; millennials


One of the biggest critiques of the millennial generation in the hospitality and tourism industry is their lack of perceived loyalty to the industry (Deloitte, 2016). In an industry with total turnover rates of 70% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017), the career attitudes and actions of millennials beginning their career will have a tremendous influence on hospitality industry costs and stability for decades to come. The assumption underlying the traditional hospitality career is that individuals seeking career progression will need to seek positions both vertically and horizontally throughout their career; essentially “job-hopping” until a desirable position is achieved (Deloitte, 2016; Harrington, VanDeusen, Fraone & Morelock 2015; Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2011). This assumption aligns with the concept of hospitality professionals developing a boundaryless career. “A boundaryless career is comprised of a sequence of jobs that go beyond the boundaries of a single employment setting, often including multiple organizations and occupations along the way,” (DeFillippi & Arthur, 1996, p.116).

Traditionally academic institutions, driven by accreditation requirements and recruit- ment efforts, regularly seek, gather and report on career placement data for graduates. Considerable research is available that focuses on the career performance of recent

CONTACT Wayne W. Smith [email protected] Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, School of Business – College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA

JOURNAL OF TEACHING IN TRAVEL & TOURISM, 2018 VOL. 18, NO. 2, 109–122 https://doi.org/10.1080/15313220.2017.1416726

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

graduates in an effort to evaluate the value of the academic programming. Alternatively, many studies have retrospectively examined career trajectory of specific groups; also with the intent of gathering data on overall effectiveness of various degrees or programs on career success. This paper examines the implicatons of a boundaryless career path on graduates of an AACSB-accredited hospitality major and implications for program assessment and development. Further, the specific implications of an integrated intern- ship, as currently emphasized by the program studied, are examined. In order to explore the career arc of graduates and the effects of program requirements such as the internship, the paper introduces the application of a sequential alignment methodology. Results for the alumni data examined are presented; and the implications of multiple career arcs are then discussed.

Review of literature

Career literature

A career is defined as “a sequence or combination of occupational positions held during the course of a lifetime” (Super, 1957, p. 286). The traditional career model prescribes that careers progress in an orderly fashion and in sequential stages within an occupation and organization (Levinson, 1978; Super, 1957). The traditional model is tied to the idea of a vertical career in a functional area until the individual reaches the upper levels of an organization. Yet, scholars question the applicability of this traditional career model in a work environment where careers are increasingly shaped by multiple employers (Arthur and Rousseau 1996; Sullivan, 1999) and occupational communities (Ginzberg & Baroudi, 1988; Van Maanen & Barley, 1984). Consequently, scholars have concluded that the traditional career model is an exception rather than the norm (Arthur and Rousseau 1996; Sullivan, 1999), labeling nontraditional careers as “boundaryless careers” and “protean careers” (Arthur, 1994; Hall & Mirvis, 1995). Boundaryless careers refer to physical mobility across organizational roles or between organizations. The Protean career descriptor refers to psychological mobility in describing an individual’s decisions, values and actions along their individual career path. A boundaryless career may take many paths, while a protean career is more directed and presumely more within the bounds of the individual’s professional training.

Career path literature

Career paths are models or prototypes characterizing the career sequences of a group of individuals. A career sequence depicts the succession of occupational jobs within an individual’s work history. In their seminal paper, Abbott and Hrycak (1990) analyzed the career sequences of German musicians in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. They described four major career paths (i.e., organists, court musicians, church musicians and others) as musicians advanced from jobs lower in the hierarchy of the musical establishment to that of the music director or Kapellmeister. Blair-Loy (1999) added to this stream of research by examining the career sequences of women in the finance occupation. She identified two broad career paths: one characterized by orderly advancement up corporate career ladders within firms, and the other characterized by

110 W. W. SMITH ET AL.

“disorderly career shifts between disparate fields and among several different organiza- tions” (p. 1362). In another study of women in the workforce, Huang, El-Khouri, Johansson, Lindroth, and Sverke (2007) and Huang and Sverke (2007) examined the career sequences of a cohort of Swedish women to identify two broad career paths: one conforming to traditional notions of upward mobility within an organization, and the other marked by exits from and reentry to the workforce for family reasons. In summary, while there has been seminal work conducted in understanding career paths, most of the work is now becoming dated in the context of a newer, more mobile and technol- ogy-based economy.

The boundaryless career

Research describes boundaryless careers and protean careers as “overlapping but dis- tinct” concepts (Briscoe & Hall, 2006, p. 4). A protean career is self-directed, proactively managed and driven by personally meaningful values and goals (Briscoe & Hall, 2006). It is depicted by psychological mobility, referring to one’s perceived capacity to enact job changes (Sullivan & Arthur, 2006). Psychological mobility, its antecedents and outcomes are interpreted from the career actor’s perspective, “who may perceive a boundaryless future regardless of structural constraints” (Arthur and Rousseau 1996, p. 6).

In comparison, boundaryless careers are described in terms of interorganizational mobility; that is, job changes “across the boundaries of separate employers” (Greenhaus, Callanan, & DiRenzo, 2008, p. 280). It is depicted by both psychological and physical boundary-crossing (Greenhaus et al., 2008). Physical mobility refers to actual job changes across structural or institutional boundaries such as jobs, firms or occupations (Briscoe & Hall, 2006b; Sullivan & Arthur, 2006). In essence, physical mobility is conceptualized as an objective career change while psychological mobility is conceptualized as a subjective career change (Sullivan & Arthur, 2006). The boundaryless career actor is capable of moving within or between organizations, as well as acquiring new knowledge or skills necessary to make a psychological shift outside of their existing professional training.

In broadening the conceptualization and operationalization of boundaryless careers, the types and timing of career mobility revealed in individuals’ work histories needs to be analyzed (Greenhaus et al., 2008). Accordingly, we utilize the information available from graduates’ work histories listed on LinkedIn, an online professional network site, to characterize the careers in terms of (1) the types of career paths, specifically: hospitality versus nonhospitality; (2) the types and timing of career mobility within a career path as defined by a simple three-tier system: frontline, junior management and senior manage- ment; and (3) longevity in each position. By doing so, we obtain a comprehensive understanding of boundaryless careers in the hospitality workforce.

Types of career mobility

Individuals may construct careers by moving across organizational or occupational boundaries (Greenhaus et al., 2008) or both simultaneously. Examining occupational mobility or organizational mobility alone presents a limited aspect of one’s career. Organizational mobility has been frequently studied, as evidenced by the extant orga- nizational turnover literature (e.g., Griffeth, Hom, & Gaertner, 2000; Joseph, Ng, Koh, &


Ang, 2007), but this literature rarely examines individuals’ destinations after they leave their organization (Kirschenbaum & Weisberg, 2002). Consequently, there is a lack of understanding of whether those who change jobs across organizations remain within or leave their occupation. By analyzing LinkedIn professional social media network profiles as opposed to organizational or occupational data, this study seeks to effectively assess progression over time, across both organizational and occupational changes.

Hospitality graduates often transition to occupations outside of the industry and their individual degree focus. Compensation and work–life balance are likely chief among the factors influencing these behaviors. Price Waterhouse Coopers (2011), Harrington et al. (2015) and Deloitte (2016) studies found that millennials liked to have distinct control over their career and lifestyle management. The same studies found that millennials are ambitious, looking for rapid career progression, and are very willing to change jobs and career paths if they feel that their life objectives are not being met.

Additional factors may include the quality and/or quantity of opportunities available in various industries outside of, yet aligned with, hospitality; career mobility potential in various roles, occupations or alternative industries; perceived value of the hospitality professional’s inherent and learned skill set; or previous personal inclinations of the individual, among other factors. Jenkins (2001) posits attrition from the hospitality industry after significant work experience may be related to negative industry percep- tion or even a lack of understanding of the career roles and potential inherent to the hospitality industry. The current study will attempt to determine general trends in the careers of hospitality program graduates and define several aggregate groups by the resulting career pathways.

Career impact of internships

There is extensive research on how internships affect career progression in the hospi- tality field. Dickerson and Kline (2008) found that positive career success indicators are most prevalent within programs with the greatest experiential structure and commit- ment. The more quality experiential learning integrated into a program, the higher the likelihood of career success.

Lee and Chao (2013) studied the role of the internship host organization in a student’s decision to pursue a career in the hospitality industry upon graduation. This research found that

influential internship organization factors, including interpersonal recognition, benefit, supervisor leadership, job planning, and training, can serve as references for hospitality industry professionals to enhance student interns’ intentions to commit to the hospitality industry. Hospitality industry professionals should improve the enrichment of on-the-job training and, within their resource constraints, develop a job rotation system for student interns. (p. 763)

Jenkins (2001) examined the student perspective in an effort to further under- stand academic program best practices and student expectations and perceptions of the hospitality industry as a result of academic preparation. Numerous other studies (Buted, Felicen, & Manzano, 2014; Chen & Shen, 2012; Collins, 2002; Dickerson & Kline, 2008) examine the role of the academic institution, program

112 W. W. SMITH ET AL.

and internship or work experience in preparing hospitality students for successful careers in the hospitality industry. Most agree that positive internship or work experiences integrated with strongly resourced academic curriculum lead to more favorable conditions for career success (Buted et al., 2014; Chen & Shen, 2012; Dickerson & Kline, 2008; Hite & Bellizzi, 1986). Jenkins (2001), however, found that many students are turned away from the field while progressing through their hospitality education.

While internships may indeed enhance or encourage career focus within the hospi- tality industry, it is important to consider other critical factors in long-term career progression: specifically time in position and industry, placement within the organiza- tion and organizational mobility, and opportunities and compensation variables in hospitality versus nonhospitality positions. These critical factors are also likely influential in career trajectory for hospitality professionals.

The current study

The current study applies sequencing-based cluster analysis called optimal matching to examine the career paths of graduates of an undergraduate hospitality program. Careers are increasingly recognized to be nonlinear, without clearly delineated career stages and predictable timing (Abbott, 2003). Instead, individuals’ careers may exhibit different rates of career mobility at different points in time. Indeed, Abbott and Hrycak (1990) urge researchers to examine the pattern of job changes that form a work history because individuals continually plan and structure their careers over time. Accordingly, we add to the careers literature by examining the timing of occupational and organizational mobility over the span of individuals’ careers.

Using optimal matching – sequence analysis to evaluate career arcs

Using a sequencing based methodology allows for investigation of the timing of different types of career moves within individuals’ career paths. For example, do indivi- duals move early in their careers or late in their careers, or do they exhibit a steady rate of mobility throughout their careers? A longitudinal perspective of careers provides insights into the timing of career moves (Huang & Sverke, 2007) which could not otherwise be obtained from cross-sectional approaches (Bailyn, 2004).

Optimal matching analysis is a statistic process to produce similarity scores between sequences of data (Sankoff & Kruskal, 1983). Originally developed to sequence DNA and RNA structures, it has been adapted into many fields to attempt to understand relation- ships between patterns (Huynh, Hall, Doherty, & Smith, 2008; Joseph, Boh, Ang, & Slaughter, 2012; Smith & Smith, 2011). Joseph et al. (2012) pioneered the use of the clustal-w sequencing technique to examine mobility patterns and career success of information technology workers using this technique. This work yielded a greater understanding of the potential career paths for IT professionals outside of the traditional models (technical or managerial) and integrated the concept of the boundaryless career, which could be appropriately applied in the hospitality profession as well. For a full description of how to employ the technique in a hospitality and tourism context, please see Smith and Smith (2011).



Data for the study were collected for hospitality and tourism students graduating from a public liberal arts college in the Southeastern United States over the period 2006–2014. Similar to the Joseph et al. (2012) study, we searched for the online resume profiles of all program alumni who graduated with the Hospitality and Tourism Management Bachelor of Science degree at the subject school since program inception in 2006. Study subjects were initially identified through institutional alumni records. For the purposes of this study, we excluded graduates from the last 2 years as their career trajectory was deemed to be too early to establish a pattern; we also excluded those whose online resume profile had not been updated within the past 6 months. This additional delineation ensured all sample data was relatively up-to-date.

The optimal matching analysis began with the coding process. The coding process for the resumes was similar to Joseph et al. (2012) in that it examined whether the employ- ment was in the field of study or not, we also coded the length of time the individual spent in each position. A third category was then added which examined the level of position within the organization. In all, the coding system had three levels – type of position, level of management and length of position. Level 1 was simply whether the position was in the hospitality field or nonhospitality. We coded with an “H” if it was hospitality, and an “N” if it was nonhospitality. Level 2 differentiated between frontline, junior, and senior management. We coded an “F” for frontline, a “J” for junior manage- ment and an “S” for senior management. For the purpose of the coding, junior manage- ment consisted of assistant managers and lower level managers, while senior management consisted of higher levels of management, such as revenue managers, directors, executives, owners and other obvious senior-level management positions. Level 3 documented how long the alumnus was in the position. We coded “A” for less than 3 months, “B” for 3–5 months, “C” for 6–11 months, “D” for 1–2 years and “E” for 2 plus years. The final position was coded based on how many months they held the position as of August 2016.


The sample analyzed represented 43% of the total potential alumni population (195 out of 457). An initial sample of 213 alumni LinkedIn profiles was found. 195 LinkedIn profiles had activity within the previous 6 months and form the sample analyzed. Of the 457 potential alumni, 72% were women versus 71% of the sample population. The proportion of those who graduated in 2007–2010 is a little over reflective of the total population (49% versus 42% of the potential alumni population). Overall, the sample population represented a reasonable sample of the total potential sample.

We analyzed the data found on each of the sample graduate profiles using optimal matching (or sequencing) analysis. In this study, we employed the Clustal Omega (http:// www.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/msa/clustalo/) set to develop a PHYLIP interleaved alignment for- mat which was converted into an alignment file and Phylogram (see Figures 1 and 2). Groups were formed at a four branch break level with distances less than .05 apart. These categorizations were based on the recommendations of Smith and Smith (2011). In examining the combined phylograph, five groups emerged from the optimal

114 W. W. SMITH ET AL.

Figure 1. Clustal omega alignment file.


Figure 2. Phylogram.

116 W. W. SMITH ET AL.

matching analysis (Figure 3). The groups are (1) Traditional Hospitality (38 respondents); (2) Stallers (44 respondents); (3) Nonhospitality path (46 respondents); (4) Loyalists (32 respondents); and (5) Entrepreneurs (31 sequences).

Traditional Hospitality (N = 38/19%) – These alumni typically had at least two internship or part-time employment positions while in school. Immediately postgra- duation, all alumni in this category began in an entry-level position, which they kept for a 6-month to 1-year period before moving into a middle management position. Typically, they switched employers (N = 32/84%) in order to receive promotions. Of those that switched, 50% (N = 16), stayed with the same company but moved to a different location. Of those, 15 respondents had internships and started their post- graduation career with the same employer before moving on in order to be pro- moted. Those who are earlier graduators (2007–2010 (N = 18/47%)) tended to move positions at every 2–3 years after the initial promotion. It was not until their fifth or sixth year postgraduation that they tended to settle to one property/organization.

Stallers (N = 44/23%) – In this category, 41 (93%) alumni only had one internship experience while in school. The respondents in this category begin employment at entry level and their resumes demonstrate that they often leave positions for lateral employ- ment at other organizations. This often occurs within a 3–6 month span. Typically, those in this category do not enter into middle management until 4 years’ postgraduation and often stay at that level. Stallers also tend to leave the hospitality industry after a few years. Approximately half of this group (N = 21/48%) leaves the hospitality industry within 2 years of graduation.

Nonhospitality (N = 46/24%) – Typically, the majority of these alumni had completed at least two or three internship or part time positions (N = 31/67%) while in school but at least two of these positions were not with traditional hospitality enterprises. About a third of this group’s (N = 14/38%) first postgraduation position was in the hospitality industry; however, in all cases by the end of the second year, they had left the hospitality industry for positions elsewhere. The most popular positions outside of hospitality

Traditional Hospitality

•Two or more hospitality related internships while in school.

•Typically start in entry-level post-graduation but promoted within the first six months to a year.

•Will change positions to earn promotion.


•Minimal internship/job experience while in school.

•Typical to see lateral job movement.

•Often leave hospitality industry after short period.


•Complete multiple internships while in school but not only in hospitality related positions.

•Often have a ‘sales orientation’ which leads to positions outside of hospitality.


•Often start post-graduation career with internship host.

•Typically, post-graduation position is junior management or management training level.

•Will stay with company as long as career path is demonstrated.


•Had employment records back to high school.

•Entered post-graduation into management in training or family business.

•Most began own business within five years of graduation.

Figure 3. Typical career arcs.


included real estate (N = 11/24%), other sales (N = 18/39%) and health care manage- ment (N = 6/13%).

Loyalists (N = 32/16%) – In this category, 94% (N = 30/94%) of the alumni in this category found employment/internship during their undergraduate experience and have remained with the employer postgraduation. Typically, alumni (N = 29/91%) in this category either graduated into a middle management position or were promoted into one within a year of graduation. The majority of the group (N = 19/59%) are promoted again within 2 years of graduation with the remaining transferring to a lateral position within the organization (i.e., housekeeping manager to front desk manager). Those that did move organizations in this category (N = 7/22%) only did so to move into a senior management position, six of those stayed with the company to which they moved but to another locale within the company.

Entrepreneurs (N = 31/16%) – The majority of alumni in this category (N = 24/77%) typically had employment records that began in high school and were continuously employed in either part time or internships throughout their university career. Many in this category either entered a management training program (N = 13/42%) or worked within a family business postgraduation (N = 9/29%). Those in this category seemingly have an entrepreneurial bent as 19 alumni in this category have started their own business within 5 years of graduation. If one combines this number with those working for family owned businesses (N = 9/29%), this equates to 90% of the sample. Of those businesses, approximately half are hospitality related.


As with previous studies by Huang et al. (2007) and Joseph et al. (2012), the findings are helpful in assisting industry to understand graduates entering the job field. The findings strongly indicate that the millennial generation does identify with the concept of a boundaryless career. As evidenced in this research, several respondents have developed a career arc which comprise of a sequence of jobs that go beyond the boundaries of a single employment setting, often including multiple organizations and occupations along the way. This behavior has strong implications for companies in terms of retention strategies The results of this study indicate that there is a strong willingness for job movement in their first 2 years postgraduation. That majority (83%) of the sample either changed job titles or moved organizations within the first 2 years. Of those that stayed with their postgraduation employer, the findings indicate that they either worked for a family organization or began their own business. Thus, if organizations wish to retain employees, then advancement potential has to be addressed within a year of employ- ment or the individual will most likely seek it elsewhere. This finding is consistent with a Price Waterhouse Coopers (2011), Harrington et al. (2015) and Deloitte (2016) reports that found that millennials are ambitious and are looking for rapid career progression.

In examining program graduates that stayed with the same organizations, there seems to be a difference between graduates hired while they were still in school and rapidly advanced them upon graduation and those that found entry-level positions upon graduation. This result indicates that it may be prudent for hospitality businesses to engage with students while still in school in order to develop a longer term track record and willingness to advance the individual either at graduation or shortly

118 W. W. SMITH ET AL.

afterwards. This is consistent with the findings of Chen and Shen (2012) who found that internship programming is strongly correlated to willingness to stay in the hospitality industry postgraduation. Companies that invest in developing personally “fulfilling” internship programs seem to retain students at a much higher level that those who do not.

Those that left the hospitality industry typically did so within 2 years’ postgradua- tion and had a strong linkage to either sales or entrepreneurial pursuits. The Price Waterhouse Coopers (2011), Harrington et al. (2015) and Deloitte (2016) studies all found that millennials want to have control over their career and lifestyle manage- ment. In examining our results, the majority of students in sales are leaving for Real Estate or Health Care positions that contain elements of hospitality while offering typically better compensation and lifestyle balance. Further, hospitality sales at well- compensated levels require a number of years of experience that cannot be obtained at graduation; while other industries have a lower barrier to entry. If hospitality companies wish to retain and groom sales talent, there needs to be more emphasis placed on sales-related professional development and career opportunity. These findings suggest that it would benefit hospitality organizations to examine having management-in-training programs that have a sales emphasis as part of their employment strategy. As was indicated in the results, management-in-training pro- grams tend to create an environment where alumni are willing to stay longer and see the opportunity to develop skill sets rather than looking for a short-term promotion.

The number of graduates interested in sales is likely an extension of the number of alumni in this sample population that had an entrepreneurial spirit. This is consistent with a finding reported by Deloitte (2016) that found that 70% of millennials stated that they reject the tradition business environment for one in which they could work independently. In that study, they found that millennials want to have greater flexibility in terms of scheduling and location of work. In examining the entrepreneurial nature of this population, the majority of businesses started related to event planning, catering/ food truck operations and real estate; all of which have a great deal of schedule and location flexibility. In addition to lower cost of entry, these varieties of businesses also allow for greater flexibility and thus lifestyle and career control. Given that traditional hospitality businesses (hotels and restaurants) tend to operate with little flexibility, it is unsurprising that millennials to whom these are a priority may not stay within the industry.


The primary limitation to this work is a sample population representing only one school located in the Southeastern United States. Further, the sample population is from a hospitality program in an AACSB-accredited business school, while many hospitality programs are not similarly situated within their universities. The sample also only includes alumni who had updated LinkedIn profiles. The sample may also have been further limited by the many alumna who had changed their names since graduation due to marriage and could not be identified. These factors made the search for viable candidates challenging, further limiting the sample population. Additionally, causality


was not investigated as a part of this study. Further qualitative research would be beneficial in determining other potential mitigating factors.


As has been indicated both in previous research (Deloitte 2016; Harrington et al., 2015; Price Waterhouse Cooper 2011) as well as in this study, the millienal generation has a strong willingness to change career paths if they feel that their life objectives are not being met. While this study did not specifically ask the sample why they changed positions, the patterns of movement indicate that they will change positions in relatively short periods of time.

Also in examining the movement patterns, the population is willing to move for any sort of career progression opportunity. Future research is needed to better understand why this level of movement occurs within the hospitality industry and what employers can do to retain quality team members. One idea arising from this research is for companies to use their internship program as a tool to graduate students into their management training programs. Organizations should seek to build relationships with potential employees and organizational leaders pregraduation. It is also clear that organizations which integrate greater levels of structure, intention and clarity to an internship program, or the career development (i.e., management in training) process in general, find greater levels of success in retention.

This research also indicates studies need to examine how students view their degree in hospitality and tourism management in relation to the boundaryless career. In examining the results of this particular sample population, it appears that there is great value in ensuring that the skills taught in our programs are tranferrable to other industries. In particular, this study indicates that there is a need to teach universial skills in entrepenurship, sales and customer relations. Given the realities of the boundaryless career, perhaps hosptiality programs would be better served by focusing on service based business skills within curriculum.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.


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  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Review of literature
    • Career literature
    • Career path literature
    • The boundaryless career
    • Types of career mobility
    • Career impact of internships
  • The current study
    • Using optimal matching – sequence analysis to evaluate career arcs
    • Data
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Limitations
  • Conclusions
  • Disclosure statement
  • References

Attachment 2

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

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


Keywords: Talent management Generation Z Hospitality workforce Recruitment strategies in hospitality and tourism


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- tality.

1. Introduction

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- ployees.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmp.2019.100603 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 hospitality.

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 job.

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 career ladder.

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, 2017).

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 technology

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, 2019b).

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 the organisation.

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- place.

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 expos.

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 & Yong, 2016).

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.

4. Conclusion

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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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 Research.

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
    • Introduction
    • 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
    • Conclusion
    • Limitations and future research
    • References