Social, economic and business environment are becoming increasingly complex in their structure and interrelationships. The rivalry market environment and external pressures in place the companies in the hospitality and tourism industry consider cost reduction and look at alternative ways of building on their competitive edge. This competitive pressure drives he prices down and makes travelling and international mobility more accessible to middle and lower middle classes. Supported by various ways of financing, tourism has become an integral part of many people´s lives. With the above in mind, cultural, social and other elements of diversity become extremely important for the considerations with regards to the challenges and issues, surrounding the industry. One of the important considerations is the development of industry´s capacity and right resources to attract young individuals to build their careers in the hospitality industry. The challenge, which hospitality industry faces today is related to the ability to develop and retain the talent, which can build on the organizational strategy and long-term competitive advantage. The purpose of this document is to look at the challenges of employment and career perception by the generation Y students, born in 80s and 90s, in the hospitality industry. The research will look into two specific studies and focus on the USA to narrow down the research scope.
An Empirical Study of the Work Attitudes of Generation Y College Students in the USA: The Case of Hospitality and Merchandising Undergraduate Majors by Josiam et al. (2009) focus on the analysis of the work attitudes of the US generation Y students. The authors apply primary research among 436 students of South-western University, attending hospitality and merchandising courses. The study investigates the attitude of the employees from the generation Y to work and the impact of their personality traits and behavioural patterns on the organizational performance and effectiveness. The findings of their research suggest that there are significant differences between the attitude of generation X, born in 70s and 80s to generation Y, which are more collaborative and internally driven to perform their job. The authors argue that understanding of the drivers and motivators for emerging generation Y workforce in hospitality industry helps increasing profitability of the organization due to a strong link between the retention rate and job quality and productivity. The conclusions outline the core elements of generation Y satisfaction and motivation as fun, enjoyment and feeling of bond with the company. Additionally, the generation was found more demanding in terms of feedback, collaboration and consistent gratification.
Second article in the focus of this work is Utilizing Generation Y: United States Hospitality and Tourism Students´ Perceptions of Career in the Industry by Richardson and Thomas (2012). The study aims to enact an analysis of the decision-making factors for the students from generation Y, when considering a job opportunity. The authors explore the development of the hospitality industry and suggest that the pace of growth of international and domestic tourism will continue placing pressure on the industry players in terms of building on internal human resources and capabilities. With that, according to the authors, research on the motivational drivers of job seekers in the industry is critical. The authors conducted an online survey among 1000 students from four Universities in the United States in different geographical areas. The findings of the authors include a number of variables, which students consider important for the choice of their job and career in general. Some of the most relevant factors, according to this study include enjoyment, working and social environment, with which the person can bond, job safety and security, professional growth opportunities and transformational leadership approach.
Contemporary business environment in the hospitality industry places a lot of pressure on the organizations with regards to their Human Resource Management (HRM) policies and practices. The factors, which influence the activities of the companies, include both, internal and external drivers. Among the strongest pressures is the rapidly increasing demand for hospitality services among middle and lower middle class, growth in a variety of tourism destinations, cultural and social diversity of tourists and internal stakeholders and other factors. This outlines the need for a stronger focus on HRM practices, which should be able to build needed expertise and skills in the company to meet the external demand and compete in very dynamic environment. With the above in mind, organizations should place HRM in the center of their generic strategies and to do so, strong theoretical research is required to support the decisions and HRM practices in the organizations of the industry. An analysis of the articles reveals several similarities, which outline the importance of such research for academic and business worlds. First of all, the emerging generation Y will build on over 62% of the hospitality workforce in the near future (Richardson and Thomas, 2012; Josiam, 2009). The differences, which this profile of the employee has, relative to generation X and others are significant and should be addressed with focused HRM strategy. The findings suggest that there are five major elements, which build on the critical factors for career development in the area for generation Y: working environment and drive to bond, enjoyment, fun, professional growth opportunities and safety of the job. These components should be deeply incorporated into the organizational HRM policies and retention programs. Additionally, the researches outline some specific characteristics of the generation Y employee, which include the drive for recognition and consistent and regular feedback, collaborative nature and strive for continuous education at work. These factors play a tremendous role in the organizational ability to motivate and retain their staff, when it comes to young employees, willing to build their careers in the industry. Understanding these factors will enable focused and more effective HRM strategy, attracting the right talent, which will help organizations and serve the increasing demand for the hospitality services globally.
Some of the major limitations of the studies, analyzed in this document include the diversity issues. As such, both empirical researches were conducted in the United States with reasonably small geographical spread, which limits the relevance and viability of the studies with regards to cultural aspects. While Richardson and Thomas (2012) leveraged their sample with geographically disperse universities in the country, the survey, conducted by Josiam et al. (2009) is focused around a single educational institution. Additionally, both studies were conducted among the students that already pursue their studies in the hospitality and do not consider those individuals, which can become potential employees in the industry, coming from different sector. Finally, these seem to be little importance given to the financial element of employee motivation as this factor was not in the scope of the research. There is a great possibility that the inclusion of salary expectations in the overall factor review would significantly affect the results.
In spite of the limitations, both studies present an interesting and relevant material for further research and outline the direction, in which the industry develops with regards to employment relationships and challenges. It is recommended that the studies are seen as a viable material for possible studies in other geographical areas and on cross-national and cross-cultural levels.
Richardson S. and Thomas N.J. (2012). Utilizing Generation Y: United States Hospitality and Tourism Students´ Perceptions of Career in the Industry. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Vol. 19, Issue 1:1-13.
Josiam B.M., Crutsinger C., Reynolds J.S., Dotter T.-V., Thozhur S., Baum T., and Devine F.G. (2009). An Empirical Study of the Work Attitudes of Generation Y College Students in the USA: The Case of Hospitality and Merchandising Undergraduate Majors. Journal of Service Research , Vol.9, Issue 1: 5-30.