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Travel and Tourism’s Recruiting Problem: Reaching a New Generation

Aug 13, 2013 9:24 am

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Despite its huge and continuing growth, the travel and tourism industry has a PR problem among Generation Y grads looking for serious business careers. The industry must fix its image quick, since it will be looking to fill millions of new jobs over the next few years.

— Eliza Ronalds-Hannon

Latest Report: Venture Investment Trends in the Travel Industry

Jose Luis Magaua  / Reuters

American University students walk among recruiting booths during a career job fair at American University in Washington. Jose Luis Magaua / Reuters


Attempts to recruit top young talent into the travel and tourism industry are failing due to undergraduate students’ misperceptions about careers in that field, says a new report from the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The report found that college students have relatively negative impressions of the career opportunities travel and tourism provide, with only 61percent of those in the U.S. saying they would even consider that field when job hunting. But that’s in part because they are uninformed, says the WTTC’s report, which claims that most students have no clear sense of the skills required, jobs available, and development opportunities in place in the travel and tourism industry.

Research showed business students aiming for job stability, salary growth, and career progression avoid travel and tourism because, for instance, they fear a low cap on their advancement. However, many of those same students wouldn’t be able to identify where that cap would exist, or which sub-industries are best compensated.

With 101 million people around the world working in travel and tourism, and a predicted 4.4 percent yearly growth over the next decade, the industry needs to focus on improving its image in order to recruit a talented and diverse new generation to fill the millions of new jobs that will create, the WTTC warned in its report.

To that end, the Council recommended promotional campaigns to spread information about less obvious industry roles, offer career case studies and set up salary benchmarks, and also recommended that industry leaders partner with university career offices in order to reach their students.

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