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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 1 Human resource management and the tourism and hospitality industry: An introduction Chapter objectives This chapter sets the scene for the book. It considers the nature of the tourism and hospitality industry and some of the approaches to managing people adopted by organizations and how these approaches can vary. Therefore the aims of this chapter are: ● To recognize the importance of tourism and hospitality as an employment sector. ● To outline the diverse range of sub-sectors and occupations within the broad heading of tourism and hospitality. ● To consider the nature of the workforce. ● To review the range of models/theories concerned with human resource management (HRM) and how these might be applied to the tourism and hospitality sector. 1 CH001.qxd 9/30/06 3:08 PM Page 1 Introduction The importance of tourism and hospitality employment in both developed and developing countries is attested to by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), who suggest that travel- and tourism-related activities account for over 230 million jobs, or 8.7 per cent of jobs worldwide (WTTC, 2006). However, whilst the quantity of jobs is unquestionable, the quality of many of these jobs is of great concern to aca- demics and policy-makers alike. Despite the rhetoric of policy-makers and business leaders that people are the industry’s most important asset, many remain uncon- vinced that such a view is borne out by empirical evidence. For example, Douglas Coupland, the notable cultural commentator, has for many captured the zeitgeist when he talks pejoratively of ‘McJob’ which he describes as, ‘Alow-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector.’ Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one’ (Coupland, 1993: 5; and see also Lindsay and McQuaid, 2004). MacDonald and Sirianni (1996) recognize the challenges of living and working in a service society which, according to them, is characterized by two kinds of service jobs: large numbers of low-skill, low-pay jobs and a smaller number of high-skill, high-income jobs, with few jobs being in the middle of these two extremes. Such a situation leads labour analysts to ask what kinds of jobs are being produced and who is filling them. This point is also true for the tourism and hospitality industry and it is important at the outset of this book to add a caveat about the generalizability (or otherwise) of the conditions of tourism and hospitality employment worldwide. Hence Baum (1995: 151) reflecting the diversity of employment within the sector notes that: In some geographical and sub-sector areas, tourism and hospitality provides an attractive, high-status working environment with competitive pay and conditions, which is in high demand in the labour force and benefits from low staff turnover … The other side of the coin is one of poor conditions, low pay, high staff turnover, problems in recruiting skills in a number of key...
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