The research takes a comprehensive evaluation of hospitality students’ perceptions towards small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) employment and explores whether the current recession and labour market changes influence hospitality students career-related decisions. Such exploration would provide vital information as to how the new economic environment has modified the nature and context of hospitality students perceptions towards SMEs. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
The research focuses on a constructionist philosophy in order to interpret how hospitality students construct of career choice. The qualitative methodology adopts semi-structured interviews in order to explore the socially constructed views of hospitality students’ perception of SMEs employment.
In spite of recessional challenges which particularly affect the graduate labour market, the research confirms the original academic arguments that socially constructed barriers and influencing factors do not highlight SMEs as an attractive first employment destination.
This research recognises the need to reconsider the curriculum for hospitality students to embed the notion of SMEs as a possible career choice.
Socially SMEs have not either historically or in the present day been seen as providing adequate resources for graduates entering the world of work. Such an implication has a considerably impact upon the supply and demand side of SMEs graduate labour market.
The economic downturn now poses a real challenge for new graduates as it is difficult to predict and discuss future labour market issues and trends. The research allows key stakeholders in graduate employment to understand the effects of the economic environment to graduate SMEs perceptions and take measures in improving SMEs-graduate employment in hospitality.
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