Tourism employment discussed at a conference in Norway

Andreas Walmsley
Andreas Walmsley

Members of Tourism Workforce delivered a workshop on tourism employment at the 27th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research in Alta, Norway (24-26 September).

The workshop sought to explore current issues in tourism employment as they apply in particular to Nordic countries. Presentations were offered by Andreas Walmsley (Towards Liveable Futures – A perspective on employment in Nordic Tourism), Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir and Íris Hrund Halldórsdóttir (Tourism employment and job satisfaction), Magnfríður Júlíusdóttir (International migrants in tourism work: Diversity and knowledge gaps) and Marianne Ekonen and Petra Blinnika (Employing Generations YZ in tourism: opportunities and challenges).

Following the presentations attendees broke off into three groups to discuss what they believed to be current issues in tourism employment in Nordic countries. Themes that emerged (in no particular order) were:
• Recruiting from diverse populations
• Leadership
• Importance of defining what we are talking about (clarity of focus)
• Integration of migrants, what career paths are open for them? Channelling of migrants into tourism work
• Developments in digitisation/AI – how might these impact demand for competencies and skills
• The role of industry as a socialisation agent for youth / socialising young people into work
• A focus on companies:
• Gender
• Leadership
• Training (frequently lack of; Finland seen as a good example)
• Skills and curriculum development
• Image gap: how does industry portray work in tourism and what is it actually like (expectations versus reality); frequently a lack of prestige, image problem
• Stereotypes and mobile workforce
• How to construct a meaningful life through tourism employment/work
• Distinguishing between rural and urban tourism employment
• Shortage of workers
• Levels of education vary
• Access to data an ongoing issue
Overall, participants expressed agreement in recognising the importance of employment issues as the relate to tourism in Nordic countries. Collaborative opportunities continue to be explored as an outcome of the event such as an edited book.

If you are interested in contributing to the book on tourism employment in Nordic tourism please contact Andreas Walmsley.