Palma, from 23 to 25 October 2013
Celebrating and Enhancing the Tourism
Knowledge-based Platform: A Tribute to Jafar Jafari

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General programme, activity sheet

Friday 25 October, 2013 12:00 to 12:20 Oral Communication
Overeducation, job satisfaction and wages in the spanish tourism sector
Speaker: Adelaida Lillo-Bañuls, Universidad de Alicante


As in the majority of developed countries, the financial crisis has severely affected all economic sectors in Spain, including the tourism industry which, however, has been able to retain a much larger share of previous employment compared to other sectors, something that has happened in a context of relative wage moderation among its workforce, notably among those with higher qualifications. The aim of this paper is to explore how three interrelated dimensions of the analysis of tourism human capital, namely educational mismatch, returns to education and job satisfaction, have behaved during the crisis. For that purpose recent data (from the Quality of Life at Work Survey, ECVT, 2008-2010) have been used to conduct both exploratory descriptive analyses as well as the estimation of two models of wage and satisfaction determination based on human capital theory. The main findings are as follows: i. Although average education is much lower in the tourism sector compared to the economy as a whole, over-education (the fact that one individual’s education exceeds that required for the job he/she occupies) is much more extended among tourism workers: whilst it affects around 19% of Spanish workers it reaches 22.4% of those in the tourism sector (a share that is even raising compared to previous years: in period 1999-2002 the comparable figure was 19% for this latter group), and it is more pronounced among those with higher levels of education: 26% of those holding university degrees in the economy as a whole, vs. 48% in the tourism sector. ii. Many efforts have been devoted in the last years to the measurement of the returns to education associated to the tourism industry, i.e. to the quantification of the individual’s wage premium which derives from higher levels of education, and it has been documented that they are much lower than in the rest of the economy. In the paper the hypothesis that over-educated workers obtain a lower reward for their training is tested through the estimation of wage equations, and it is shown that the lower returns to education in the tourism sector documented by many previous analyses are partially biased downward when over-education is not taken into account: this implies that the years devoted to formal training taken as a whole are less rewarded than those spent acquiring the education level required for the job. However the mainstream conclusion holds: returns to education are much lower in the tourism industry, and this is only partially explained by a larger educational mismatch. iii. The analysis shows that stress levels and particularly monotony and physical effort associated to jobs in the tourism sector are higher than in the wider economy. With respect to the different dimensions of job satisfaction considered, the scores given by workers in tourism activities are lower for all of them. The largest differences are observed in satisfaction with working hours, rest times, holidays and leave, promotion prospects and, notably, in-house training. However, it is paradoxical that the lower satisfaction of tourism workers in all the indices contemplated, together with their lower salaries, result in a very small difference with respect to the overall satisfaction with their current job compared to total workers, and especially that this dimension is given such a high score (higher than seven and a half points with a very low standard deviation). It is argued that this could be related to the widespread unemployment suffered by the Spanish economy, especially during the period of economic recession analysed, which may incite workers to evaluate the fact that they have job very highly although when they analyse its different dimensions individually the opinion is much worse. iv. In all the dimensions analysed the levels of satisfaction are substantially lower among over-educated workers, something that is confirmed through the estimation of a satisfaction equation which largely replicates the wage equations used in the paper (although due to the variable’s nature the specific technique used in this case is an ordered probit model instead of OLS). The results show that over-education has a significant and negative effect on satisfaction. The resilience of the sector during the crisis in terms of activity and employment should not contribute to perpetuating some of its less desirable characteristics which could limit its capacity for future growth in a global context characterised by the increase of the capacity of international competitors where a cheap workforce is abundant.
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Session 5 – Skills, competences and tourism education
Place: Room SB04

Other activities in Session 5 – Skills, competences and tourism education
12:20 h. to 12:40 h.Oral Communication

Creating tourism awareness through introducing tourism as a high school subject: Empirical findings from south africa

Speaker: Mathilda van Niekerk, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida
12:40 h. to 13:00 h.Oral Communication

Technological tools in higher tourism education and students’ motivation

Speaker: Adelaida Lillo-Bañuls, Universidad de Alicante