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Do you want to work in the UK hospitality industry after graduation? The working environment and the perception of graduates.

Do you want to work in the UK hospitality industry after graduation? The working environment and the perception of graduates.
Author: King Cheung
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Abstract: This conference paper is focusing on the workplace environment in the hospitality industry, to determine the internal and external accessibility, in order to attract and retain undergraduate students to develop their long-term career path. The phenomenon of the industry is lack of talent or skilled employees due to the negative image, bad working experience and low accessibility for foreigners. The paper is explored the secondary research by different scholars on the research of students’ perceptive on how to choose their career path and what are the factors influenced them to stay in the industry.

Keywords: hospitality industry, undergraduate students perceptive, career choice, hospitality workplace environment

The hospitality is important sector within travel and tourism industry for contributing economy growth and create a plenty of job opportunities including the carting, waiter or waitress, hotel manager and hotel room cleaners etc. across the business of restaurants and hotel. The negative issues are always happened in the hospitality industry such as unequal pay or pay gap, gender discriminations, loss of life balance and sexual harassment etc., however, is it that main reasons to influence new graduate to enter or stay in the industry. The argument of this is regarding the term of “entry shock” which means the new employee may over-optimism to the job or not ready to face the challenges on the job. It is no doubt to say the negative images of the industry peruse lots of skilled students leave the industry. Hence, the industry needs to better understand their expectation while enhancing the workplace environment, in order to retain and attract the Millennial to develop their career in the industry.

Labour shortage always existing in UK hospitality industry, but the problem has become more serious now due to the Brexit. According to the People1st (2016) reported that the UK T&T industry needs 993,000 new employees by 2022, and of this 870,000 will be replacing employees who leave the industry. However, regarding the UK hospitality workplace environment, summarised into three important areas influenced the improvement of the industry and limited the graduators entry into the industry.

Firstly, the workforce demographic has changed. The reason of that is the government retirement policy changed, caused that the number “grey market” employees increased and senior management level employees can work longer, in contract the promotion of the manager or high level may be decreased, for students that may harder to achieve their career path within the industry, especially in the larger companies. Secondly, the working conditions and offers (pay and benefits) may not be satisfied their expectations. The poorer human resources management of the company may influence the overall employee’s working satisfaction like the insufficient communication when the discrimination or harassment placed, lack of training, customer services and the respond for the emergency issues etc. Moreover, the problem of outsourcing, exacerbated the unfair pay between female and male, paid lower the minimum wage by the UK law. Students are expected better working condition or offer compares with similar work nature like sales and shopkeepers, rather than stay in the industry. The last, the immigration restrictions which may be limited to the foreigners’ accessibility to the UK. It is also being the high concern discussion topic between EU and UK, due to the UK hospitality industry the worker from EU over 60%, according to the BHA (2017), sector will be faced a recruitment crisis after Brexit, with upwards of 60,000 workers per year needed in addition to the ongoing recruitment of 200,000 workers required to replace changes and to maintain the power growth. Therefore, to improve the working environment is necessary to the UK hospitality industry.

Besides, a better understanding of the graduates’ perception for choosing the career path in the industry also helps the HR to retain and attract the talents. Regarding the research by Richardson (2010) stated out the nine different dimensions of the new graduates’ perception: nature of work, social status, pay and benefits, industry person congeniality, physical working conditions, promotion opportunities, co-workers, managers and commitment to the industry. However, different students may have a different sense for considering the career path in the future, that is good for the students who are still confusing in the future as a guideline to figure out what job is suitable for them.

“Different industry has different difficulty”, the concern is about the improvement of working environment in the UK hospitality industry is still a long way to go, each stakeholder like government, T&T associations, NGOs and hospitality company had to operate together, to re-build the confident with employees and public, in order to maintain the industry growth and competitive in the worldwide. Finally, the best way to build up the positive relationship is communication which can help to establish the trust between management and employees.

BHA (2017). The economic contribution of the UK hospitality industry. The British Hospitality Association. Available at: http://www.bha.org.uk/economic-contribution-uk-hospitality-industry/

People1st (2016). The skills and productivity problem: Hospitality and tourism sector. [PDF] London: People1st.co.uk Available at: http://www.people1st.co.uk/getattachment/Research-Insight/People-and-productivity/Report-The-Skills-and-productivity-problem-Oct-15.pdf/?lang=en-GB

Richardson, S. (2010). Tourism and Hospitality Students' Perceptions of a Career in the Industry: A Comparison of Domestic (Australian) Students and International Students Studying in Australia. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 17(1), pp.1-11.