Influences on career development in Australian tourism

  • Helen J. Ayres

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis explored careers within Australian tourism with the aim of developing a model of influences on career development in the tourism industry. As tourism is still an emerging profession, careers have yet to be clearly defined and career paths are not easily identifiable. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that the industry is prone to high turnover, low retention rates, is often viewed as a low skilled industry and has difficulty attracting employees with a view to serious career development. While some research into careers into hotel management is available, in depth career studies in the tourism industry have yet to emerge. This thesis addresses this gap in the literature and provides industry stakeholders with information to assist in human resource management and policy development. The researcher drew finding from an electronic survey that was designed from information collected from an exploratory study conducted by the researcher, from literature available on both career development and research on the tourism industry, and from earlier research projects. This electronic survey was designed to collect primarily qualitative data and was disseminated to the Australian tourism industry. Results from this study suggest that careers in the tourism industry are influenced by a variety of mentoring relationships. Both formal education and on-the-job training was found to be increasingly important for those wanting to advance in the industry and remaining mobile between jobs, between organisations, within industries and geographically was advantageous. A motivation to work in tourism and a "passion" for the industry was found to be a strong influence on career development in the current study. This study should add to our understanding of careers in Australian tourism and, more specifically to our understanding of the role of formal education and on-the-job training in career development and the perceived value of such training. The current study reinforces previous knowledge of high levels of mobility within the tourism industry and suggests the need to change job, organisation, industry or geographical location is influential on career development in Australian tourism. In addition, the results suggest that although structured mentorship programs are currently unavailable to many in the tourism industry, mentorship in the form of informal and networking relationships assists career development. While this thesis has contributed to our understanding of career development in the tourism industry, because of inevitable limitations with the sample obtain for this study, it would be useful to replicate this survey with other sectors of the tourism, to explore influences on careers in tourism in other countries, to investigate gender issues in the industry and to further explore the influences of education, mobility and mentorship.
    Date of Award2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPeter Clayton (Supervisor), Carole Kayrooz (Supervisor), Jeremy Huyton (Supervisor) & Brent Ritchie (Supervisor)

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