Study on Career Perceptions of Female Students Pursuing Tertiary Studies in the Tourism Sector: The Case of the Maldives

By P. Pathmanaban C. M. Pappayah and Aishath Nayasheen Ahmed.

Published by Journal of Tourism and Leisure Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 5, 2016 $US5.00

This article presents the issue of the lack of local female employment in the Maldivian tourism industry. It explores this subject from a number of aspects such as the career perceptions of local female students pursuing tourism and hospitality education in the Maldives, the role of the government, and the private sector. The private sector aspect is covered from the perspective of the tourism employers and education providers based in Malé, Maldives. The tourism industry is the largest economic contributor in the Maldives. However, the labour force in this industry is predominantly male. The low number of local women employed in this sector was confounding given the fact that Maldivian women are not known as being restricted on grounds of attaining employment or seeking education. Past research identified an array of religious, sociocultural, and human resource factors prevalent in the Maldivian society, which hinders the participation of local women in this industry. This research aimed to add value to existing literature by including the role of the government and private sector to further understand possible underlying concerns. Primary data collection was undertaken with online questionnaires being sent to selected education institutions that were filled in by the students. Data from the government agencies such as the Ministry of Law and Gender and the Ministry of Tourism were collected via email interviews. Likewise, data from education providers from the public, private sector and that of travel agencies and resorts were collected in the same manner. The preliminary findings were analysed using SPSS to obtain a descriptive analysis after which the interviews were analysed using triangulation method. These analyses were further supported by theories namely Hofstede’s Cultural Theory and Feminist Political Economy Theory. Findings indicated societal pressure and religious beliefs, gendered roles within the society and family, unfavourable work conditions for women in this industry, gender discrimination, and limitations in universal access to tourism education. These had significant influence on the female student’s prospects of pursuing a career in the tourism and hospitality industry. It is hoped that the findings of this research will contribute to the existing literature on career perceptions of female students in the tourism sector of the Maldives. It is also hoped that these findings will shed light on the gender-based matters of women attaining education and pursuing careers in this industry, while highlighting the role of the government and private sector in this regard.

Keywords: Career Perceptions, Tourism Education, Sociocultural, Human Resources, Tourism Labour, Maldives

Journal of Tourism and Leisure Studies, Volume 1, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 5, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 604.147KB)).

Dr. P. Pathmanaban C. M. Pappayah

Lecturer, School of Business, Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Aishath Nayasheen Ahmed

Graduate, School of Business, Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia