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Advancing Women’s Careers

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The hospitality sector is particularly demanding because of irregular hours of work. There are three types of transitions impacting working women at their workplaces – career-focused transitions, life-cycle induced transitions, and workplace or market-induced transitions (Womenomics, 2006). Women change jobs twice as often as men, which is a reason for concern and warrant research. They even switch jobs between sectors and prefer a job where they can make a difference. They prefer jobs that offer the facility for skill development to increase their employability. For this, they are even willing to work at low pay. Studies suggest that when women do get access to functional roles in their current employment, they either stall in their career advancement or move to other employers. Hence retention is a major issue in the hospitality industry.

Worldwide tourism is an important sector for women who make up to 46% of the tourism labor force (Vargas &amp. Aguilar, 2002). There is a significant vertical and horizontal gender segregation in the labor market. Women all over the world have always faced discrimination in terms of management positions and levels of pay. Cobb &amp. Dunlop (1999) agree that the gender gap still exists in the area of promotions and the women are at a disadvantage (cited by Zhong, 2006). While the scene is gradually changing, the pace of change is ‘painfully slow’ (BBC, 2007) as Zhong (2006) also observes that women represented 20% to 40% of management positions in about 60 countries (ILO) but they continue to be underrepresented in management positions compared to their overall employment. Burke and Vinnicombe (2006) contend that the aging workforce and fewer new entrants has resulted in a shortage of qualified leaders, forcing organizations to utilize and develop talents of all its employees. Under the circumstances, they cannot afford to artificially limit the career possibilities of women.