Hospitality Labour Force

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Characteristics of the hospitality labour force and its impact on the management of human resources in the hospitality industry

Characteristics of the hospitality labour force and its impact on the management of human resources in the hospitality industry


The hospitality and tourism industries are characterized by diversity both on the basis of intra-national and international criteria. The resource parameters of this merge into a variety of other areas of economic activity for the industry and it are an important characteristic that impacts the identification, management and retention of talent within the sector. The characteristics of the international hospitality and tourism industry have a major impact on the nature of work (Baum, 1996 pp. 207). Thus, the range of sub-sectors, the size of businesses, their ownership, and the markets they serve and the impact of variable demand, and seasonality, illustrate the factors which contribute to determining the characteristics of the hospitality and the tourism industry. , The range of tasks which are undertaken in analyzing the industry parameters are, the numbers employed and the skills required. However, while these associations are undoubtedly very important, they cannot be seen as the exclusive determinants of the characteristics of hospitality and tourism labour market (Baum, 2007, 1399).

In a broad sense, the labour market comprises the total working environment at local, regional, national or transnational level. Thus, it is possible to talk about the labour market of a small town, such as Wexford as the location of the famous opera festival in Ireland, for example, the 2004 Summer Olympics venue, Athens in Greece; is a distinct region of a country, such as Calabria in Italy which is an entire state; or, finally, of the whole ASEAN region or, indeed, the total continent of Europe. Increasingly, labour markets are experiencing porosity as a result of the forces of globalisation and the growing mobility of the workforce at all levels (Baum, 1996 pp. 207).


A labour market consists of all industry sectors, their personnel requirements and skills needs, as well as those currently outside the actual workforce, whether unemployed or temporarily unable to work because of illness or injury, or undergoing specific vocational training or more general preparation for the workforce within this system. Economists and others who view labour markets from a macro or theoretical perspective tend to describe the environment as akin to a well-oiled machine, driven by supply and demand within a free market. However, as Riley (1996, 7) rightly points out that the labour forces run on information, but they are invariably less than perfect mechanisms. What both buyers and sellers are left with are their perceptions and assumptions of supply and demand. One may think that there is no current demand for labour skills, yet it may be that there is a demand. Perfect labour markets, however, do not exist in the real free market world and, despite major investment in labour planning; the total management of the labour market was not a conspicuous success in the planned economies of Eastern ...
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