Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Preferred Work Paradigm for Generation Y in the Hotel Industry: A Case Study of the International Tourism and Hospitality International Programme, Thailand

Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Preferred Work Paradigm for Generation Y in the Hotel Industry: A Case Study of the International Tourism and Hospitality International Programme, Thailand

Article excerpt


It is well known that hospitality work is physically demanding and involves mental stress and, at times, an un-competitive compensation package. This has resulted in a high employee turnover rate in recent years. Staff retention is thus a challenge, especially for employees belonging to Generation Y (Gen Y). The situation in Thailand is not different, especially with respect to Gen Y. This article aims to identify the ideas and perceptions held by Gen Y undergraduates who are currently being educated in the field of tourism and hospitality and whose education will possibly lead them Gen to seek long-term employment in the hotel industry. In order to identify the influential factors, the researchers aim to obtain maximum information, views and thoughts from research purposive respondents in this study; thus, qualitative research using an inductive approach involving a focus group discussion methodology was selected. 66 Gen Y students who are studying the Tourism and Hospitality Management programme from the first International College in Thailand participated in this study. The results suggest that Gen Y students share similar views on the influential factors to work effectively. They identified five key factors: effective leaders, a friendly environment, good pay and benefits, a flexible policy and culture and great facilities. The result details allow an understanding of the conditions and requirements for practitioners and researchers who are interested in studying Gen Y in the hotel industry.

Keywords: working conditions in the hospitality industry, Generation Y, Generational Y's characteristics, Thailand, international programme

1. Introduction

The hospitality industry is a people industry: it has been consistently emphasised that the human element is vital to product and service delivery within the industry (Crosby and Stephen, 1987; Gronroos, 1990, Parasuraman et al., 1985, Solomon et al 1985); people are the core feature of operations in the hospitality industry. The tourism and hospitality field has become important worldwide and is a fast growing industry in many countries. However, the industry faces the significant issue of employee turnover (Bares, 2011). Because every time an employee resigns, a replacement must be recruited, selected and trained there is great concern within the hospitality industry about the high turnover of employees. A great deal of effort with respect to human resource management is needed to minimize the turnover impact. (Samuel and Chinpunza, 2009).

A Gen Y workforce has recently entered the market and is now a major driving factor not only in the hospitality industry but for most businesses. At 41% of the general working population, Gen Y ranked as contributing the highest percentage of the general working population when compared to other generations (Benckendorff et al, 2010). Furthermore, McCrindle (2010) has stated that Gen Y most probably contributes the highest percentage of the total workforce in the hospitality industry. Therefore, it is necessary for employers to pay attention to Gen Y employees who are becoming the majority in every organisation.

Hinkin and Tracey (2000) have stated that the working conditions in the hospitality industry are demanding, with long hours, tight schedules, and a high level of pressure from customers, colleagues and the work itself. Sinnithithavor (2010) investigated Gen Y's work behaviour and found that Gen Y are highly technologically adept, do not prefer many mies and regulations in the workplace, make fast decisions with respect to resignation if they are dissatisfied, are extremely confident, expect a high salary at the entry level, and expect fast promotion; they love freedom and like to be empowered at work; in the meantime, they prefer mobility and dislike routine work. Members of Gen Y whose managers are members of the baby-boomer generation view baby-boomers as antique, not up-to-date and as not very effective in terms of management. …

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