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Meeting career expectation: can it enhance job satisfaction of Generation Y?

Haiyan Kong (Business School, Shandong University (Weihai), Weihai, China)
Sujuan Wang (Shandong University (Weihai), Weihai, China)
Xingxing Fu (Business School, Shandong University (Weihai), Weihai, China)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




This paper aims to explore the influence of career expectations on job satisfaction of Generation Y, as well as the mediating effect of career expectations on the relationship between hotel career management (HCM) and job satisfaction.


Data were collected from the main tourist cities in China with Generation Y employees working in the hospitality industry as the target population. A total of 442 valid questionnaires were obtained, and structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationships among the constructs.


HCM contributed positively to employees’ career expectation and job satisfaction. Career expectation was positively related to job satisfaction, as well as mediated the relationship between HCM and job satisfaction.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited by the use of self-reported data in the cross-sectional design because all participants filled out the questionnaires by themselves. The use of convenience sampling method presents another limitation for this study.

Practical implications

This study may serve as a guide for managers and policymakers. First, this study highlights the importance of effective career management activities. Second, this study may help hotels retain the qualified staff members. Third, this study may help hotel managers respond to the career expectation of their young employees.

Social implications

The meditating effect of career expectation highlights its importance in the career management system. The main force of market labor is Generation Y, who are known for their high career expectation and their emphasis on their career development. The findings indicate that both extrinsic and intrinsic value factors provide greater contributions to job satisfaction than prestige and stability factors. Therefore, hotels must provide a stable working environment, and care more on employees’ intrinsic value. Aside from providing high compensation, employers should also provide career growth opportunities and challenging job to their employees, as they are important motivational factors. By providing tailor-made career activities, hotel managers may satisfy the career expectations and enhance the job satisfaction of young employees, which, in turn, leads to a mutually beneficial situation for both managers and employees.


This study explores the predictors and outcomes of career expectations of Generation Y employees. It highlights the importance of meeting the career expectations and also shows initial evidence on the mediating effect of career expectation. The findings of this study may provide useful guidance to both hotel operators and employees.



The author would like to thank the support of Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, Planning Research Grant number 12YJA630051 and the support of Shandong University (Weihai) Overseas Student Education Reform Grant number 1030301011301.


Kong, H., Wang, S. and Fu, X. (2015), "Meeting career expectation: can it enhance job satisfaction of Generation Y?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 147-168.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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