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Polish migrant workers in the UK hospitality industry: Profiles, work experience and methods for accessing employment

Hania Janta (School of Tourism, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 23 August 2011




This paper aims to draw from a wider study that explores the experiences of Polish migrant workers in the UK's hospitality sector across the UK. It seeks to focus on findings that reveal the profile of Polish migrant workers and the methods used for accessing employment by Poles in the UK hospitality sector.


The paper draws on primary data collected through qualitative and quantitative methods, comprising an online survey, interviews and netnography.


The profile of workers emerging from the study indicates that those who work or worked in UK hospitality are predominantly young, female and highly qualified. Migrants work in various hospitality departments and an important pattern shows that they gradually move to jobs in supervisory and front‐of‐house positions. Informal methods for accessing employment used by highly qualified people suggest that migrants lack knowledge of local institutions and labour practices that would allow them to choose jobs that are more relevant to their qualifications.

Research limitations/implications

A principal limitation of this study, as with all internet surveys, is the difficulty in claiming the representativeness of the sample. This limitation is compensated by the use of other research methods.

Practical implications

The research identifies three possible explanations for choosing jobs in hospitality. It further suggests practical implications for recruitment and selection.


This study aims to answer some of the “unknowns” about the profile of Polish migrants employed in the UK hospitality sector and to yield some insights into migrants' methods for accessing employment. It will therefore address the gap in the research.



Janta, H. (2011), "Polish migrant workers in the UK hospitality industry: Profiles, work experience and methods for accessing employment", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 803-819.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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