The role of women in travel services in British Columbia
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According to a CTHRC online article, in less than twenty years “the potential labour shortage in tourism could reach a staggering 348,000 full-year jobs” (Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council, 2008a, ¶ 1). Women represent the majority of this labour force, and yet the issue of attracting, training, and retaining women as workers with unique needs has not been discussed either provincially or nationally. Despite the preponderance of women working in this part of the tourism industry, no study has sought to understand ways to increase, or enhance, the participation of women in travel services. This study attempts to fill a knowledge gap in this area by quantitatively and qualitatively examining the role of women travel services in British Columbia. As a result of a survey with over 250 working British Columbian female travel services professionals, and 26 leaders of both genders in the provincial industry, several key themes were identified and recommendations made relating to achieving a vision of British Columbia’s travel services is a progressive, inclusive, and flexible career choice. These include having women play an active and strategic role in their travel services careers, providing increased compensation and compensory measures (such as flex time and child care), creating opportunities for women to transition to positions of influence, and implementing provincial programs relating to mentorship.