Attitudes in Wales towards careers in tourism and hospitality
This research addresses the problem of attracting suitably qualified people into the tourism and hospitality industries in Wales. Investment in Welsh tourism and hospitality projects is constantly increasing. As a result, a substantial increase in the demand for a quality workforce has been predicted, with forecasts suggesting that employment will increase to such an extent that by 2003, an extra 10,000 workers will be required (DTZ Pieda Consulting, 1998). In order to address this problem, the research concentrates upon investigating attitudes towards careers within the tourism and hospitality industries in Wales, focusing on Year 10, 11 and 12 school students as potential employees of the industries. Hence, the social pressures and processes that school students are exposed to when forming career decisions are investigated. Via a literature review, the key themes of career theory and career decision-making are highlighted, together with an examination of the nature of the industries, which serves to contextualise the inherent problems of attracting a suitably qualified workforce.
Attitudinal literature is also considered. An initial assumption of this research was that as a result of the statutory requirement for schools to provide careers education and guidance (1997 Education Act), career professionals would have the greatest influence in the career decision-making process of school students. A series of exploratory qualitative research methods are used to explore this assumption, investigate the social influences school students in Wales are exposed to when forming their career decisions and to establish the current attitudes of school students and those that influence them towards careers in the tourism and hospitality industries. This qualitative approach is used to assist the design of a quantitative methodology to evaluate parental attitudes towards careers within tourism and hospitality. Statistical analysis of the survey data (n =463) is integrated within the findings of the qualitative phase, to produce six thematic strands of analysis: provision and delivery of careers education; shaping attitudes towards careers; important questions about careers and the formation of attitudes towards tourism and hospitality; exploring specific attitudes towards careers within the tourism and hospitality industries and promoting career opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industries. The research concluded that parents are the greatest influencers, but the influence of formal career education and guidance should not be dismissed.
However, the most influential groups are not necessarily the best informed. Therefore, the industries cannot rely on these groups to accurately inform school students and policy initiatives aimed at promoting careers within tourism and hospitality must consider theories relating to socialisation, habitus, the theory of planned behaviour and latitudes of acceptance or rejection in order to be effective.
- School of Management