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Debunking the Myth of the “Ideal Tourism Worker”

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

During the last few years, there has been a global increase in tourism employment. However, the industry is characterized by very high employee turnover rates, according to recent studies. Why’s that? Partly, because of low wages, challenging working conditions, and limited growth opportunities, particularly for women.

There are a few reasons tourism workers struggle with work-life balance: the seasonal nature of tourism employment, decreased job security, long work hours, and “flexibility.”

According to the authors of the paper “Gender, flexibility and the ‘ideal tourism worker:"

... aspirations for a greater balance between work and personal life is a sentiment felt more acutely by female tourism employees.

And this mainly has to do with the amount of household responsibilities women have compared to male employees.

In the study, the authors use a feminist economics framework to investigate how gender influences the “ideal worker” discourse in tourism through the analysis of a crucial question: How do gender roles related to flexibility influence tourism managers' and recruiters’ conceptualizations of the “ideal tourism worker?”

You can read the full study here.

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