New research delving into the minds of New Zealand’s young people has uncovered some fascinating insights into what they think about working in tourism and who influences that thinking.
Tourism is our number one export earner, worth $36 billion annually and directly employs more than 230,000 people.
In Auckland alone, projections out to 2021 are forecasting a 27 per cent increase in the number of jobs in the sector, with an estimated 76,000 Aucklanders working in the industry within the next three years.
However, with industry concerns growing around skills shortages and with one in eight young people aged under 25 not ‘earning or learning’*, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) wanted to understand what New Zealanders, particularly young people, think about working in tourism.
TIA has identified ‘People and Skills’ as being critical to meet the goals of the industry’s Tourism 2025 Framework, developing a supporting strategy which recognised the importance of this issue. It acknowledges that attracting young people to the sector is key to helping alleviate the shortages.
Likewise, the recently launched Destination AKL 2025 strategy, spearheaded by ATEED, has listed getting more young people into a career in tourism as one of the key strategic imperatives towards developing a sustainable visitor economy in Auckland.
The nationwide research offers new insights for industry employers and educators so that they can attract more young people, and effectively retain and develop them into sustainable career pathways.
Key findings from the research included:
• Young people studying and working think tourism is an important part of the economy
• ¾ of recent tourism recruits find the industry appealing to work in
• Tourism is growing and there are lots of opportunities
• No qualifications required, you can jump straight in
• It’s an experience-based industry so you can work your way up
• Others will think your job is fun, interesting and exciting
• You’ll work with outgoing, passionate and easy-going people representing New Zealand
• Huge variety; you don’t need to be bored or stuck in an office
• Tourism jobs have average pay
• Tourism jobs are low-status, anti-social and temporary
• Limited career pathways
• A tourism career is difficult to imagine. It’s a hard-sell to parents
• At school, tourism is viewed as an easy subject
• Unambitious people go into tourism
• Career advisors aren’t strong tourism advocates.
The full insights and reports are available here.