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Chapter 1 Introduction

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-36-4-3358

ISBN: 978-1-910158-36-4

Published: November 2015

Component type: chapter

Published in: Youth Employment in Tourism and Hospitality

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-36-4-2678



The tourism and hospitality sector counts among the world’s largest in terms of business volume and employment. The United Nations World Tourism Organization suggests one in 11 jobs globally are to be found in tourism (UNWTO, 2013:78). Although precise employment figures in tourism are difficult to establish, as a heavily customer-facing, service-orientated sector it is in many of its operations highly labour intensive. Despite advances in technology, the possibilities of substituting labour by technology in tourism remain limited. For this reason tourism is frequently regarded favourably by policy makers, both in the developed and the developing world, in their attempts to drive down unemployment, particularly youth unemployment which in many countries is at crisis levels. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), for example, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.
Devadason (2007) explains that, as expected, the career ladder causality is most readily identifiable with the professional and managerial high income earners and yet he provides examples of low-income workers who also describe strategic thinking in their transitions. In fact, he makes reference to an individual working in hospitality who, starting from the bottom in what many people would describe as a low-skilled, menial job, had worked his way up to manager of a cappuccino bar and who now seeks to advance further. Square one causality is used by those whose work transitions have not demonstrated any form of progression or which do not feature as part of a larger career plan. This comprises both individuals who have remained in low-skilled work for some time as well as workers who were simply looking to earn some income before going on to further study. The final category of Setback stories relates to those who find themselves in a square one situation for an extended period of time and who then try to explain an absence of progress with reference to ‘lack of encouragement, confidence or the right networks to fulfil their aspirations’ (Devadason, 2007:712). The key point Devadason makes is that for some young adults, transitions into and out of employment, unemployment and education are woven into a narrative that is not necessarily negative. Indeed, it could be argued that we are entering an era where a lengthy period of time with one employer calls for an explanation in a tacit acknowledgement that this is no longer the norm. The extent to which young people will adapt to these labour market changes is yet to be fully understood, although it is likely tourism and hospitality employment will continue to feature in many young people’s early work experience.

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Walmsley, 2015

Walmsley, A. (2015) "Chapter 1 Introduction" In: Walmsley, A. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-910158-36-4-3358


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