Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management


Generation Y's Career Expectations and Aspirations: Engagement in the Hospitality Industry

Gillian A. Maxwella1 c1, Susan M. Ogdena2 and Adelina Broadbridgea3

a1 Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom.

a2 Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom.

a3 University of Stirling, United Kingdom.


The aim of this article is to explore the linkage between Generation Y's career expectations and aspirations on the one hand and employee engagement on the other. The article includes primary work on the views of Generation Y undergraduate students with work experience in the hospitality industry. The questionnaire was developed by the authors to focus expressly on identified aspects of Generation Y's views on their careers. Across two universities in Scotland, the views of 122 respondents with work experience mainly in the hospitality industry are analysed. The Generation Y respondents in this study signal that their early experiences in the hospitality industry act to discourage them from pursuing careers in this sector. This is a generation that is apparently self-centred and demanding. It seems to have high initial career expectations and higher aspirations still for long-term careers that the hospitality industry can do more to meet. Expectations and aspirations centre mainly on their personal career development, or employability factors. They involve both employee and employer inputs, notably determination to succeed and good pay respectively. While based on a relatively modest sample size, the article suggests pointers to hospitality industry employers on how to engage Generation Y in order to support business performance. Above all, graduate recruitment and career development that is clear, structured, fair and equal is sought by Generation Y, especially for females. By responding to Generation Y and with further research, hospitality organisations may be better placed to attract and retain Generation Y graduates. More, they may encourage employee engagement.


  • Generation Y;
  • hospitality;
  • careers;
  • employee engagement


c1 Dr Gillian Maxwell, Reader (HRM), Department of Management, Business School, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow G4 OBA, United Kingdom.