Tourism and Hospitality Industry Employees' Experiences of Career Shocks and Career Resilience




Tourism, Hospitality, Tourism And Hospitality Industry, Career Shock, Career Resilience, Employee


Employees in the tourism and hospitality industry (THI) have experienced a wide range of sudden changes that have had
various impacts on their careers. Career shocks are disruptive and extraordinary events often caused by factors outside the focal
individual’s control and that trigger a deliberate thought process concerning one’s career. Although career shocks are usually
difficult to predict, we can prepare ourselves in advance by developing career resilience. Career resilience refers to an individual's
ability to adapt to new situations, overcome negative ones and recover from changes. Research is exceptionally important,
especially from the perspective of the THI, which has suffered from a wide range of crises which have caused a significant decrease
in workforce engagement and labour shortages. This research aimed to study the experiences of THI employees in career shock
situations and how career resilience has affected these situations. The research questions were: What kind of career shocks have
employees experienced during their careers? What kind of consequences have these career shocks had on employees’ careers?
How have career shock situations strengthened their career resilience? This study was conducted based on a narrative approach
and the data consisted of 30 career narrative writings of the students of the Tourism and Hospitality Management master’s degree
programme. A three-phase qualitative inductive content analysis was used as an analysis method. The results suggest that
employees have experienced a wide range of career shocks during their careers, partly because the THI and workplaces have been
sensitive to change. According to the data, career shocks could be categorised into global, organisational, and individual level
shocks. Employees experienced career shocks and their consequences mainly positively. In addition, the experiences of surviving
career shock situations strengthened individuals’ career resilience in many ways. This study highlights the importance of
understanding individuals' experiences of career shocks and the ways to prevent uncertainty to retain employees in the
workplaces and an industry suffering from labour shortages.