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Undergraduates' Perceptions of Tourism and Hospitality as a Career Choice

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Undergraduates' Perceptions of Tourism and Hospitality as a Career Choice Scott A. Richardson Griffith University Gold Coast, Australia E-mail: scott.richardson@griffith.edu.au ABSTRACT This study explored undergraduate tourism and hospitality student’s views of the industry as a career choice. Three hundred and seventy-nine tourism and hospitality students, from eight Australian institutions, completed a questionnaire rating the importance of twenty factors in influencing their choice of career, and then the extent to which they thought tourism and hospitality, as a career, offers these factors. A number of factors have been identified as being significantly different. From the results it is clear that students generally do not believe that a career in tourism and hospitality will offer them the factors that they find important. Key Words: Career choice, Undergraduates, Perceptions, Tourism, Hospitality INTRODUCTION The tourism and hospitality industry worldwide, and in Australia in particular, has been confronted with the problem of attracting and retaining quality employees which has lead to a shortage of skilled personnel to staff the ever-growing number of tourism and hospitality businesses (Andorka, 1996; Bonn & Forbringer, 1992; Breiter, 1991; Deery & Shaw, 1999; Dermady & Holloway, 1998; Emenheiser, Clay, & Palakurthi, 1998; Ferris, Berkson, & Harris, 2002; Freeland, 2000; Heraty & Morley, 1998; Hinkin & Tracey, 2000; McDermid, 1996; Powell, 1999; Tourism Division, 2002). This problem is complex with many different contributing factors. A number of characteristics commonly found in the tourism and hospitality industry result in the skills shortage currently facing the industry in Australia. These characteristics include a young transient workforce, low levels of pay and formal qualifications, high levels of female, student, part-time and casual workers, a...

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