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Cultural diversity in Cultural

diversity in
hospitality work hospitality work
Tom Baum, Eli Dutton, Shamim Karimi,
and Jithendran Kokkranikal
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK 229
Frances Devine
University of Ulster, Co. Antrum, UK, and
Niamh Hearns
Galwayo-Mayo Institute of Technology, Co. Mayo, Ireland
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to address the growing importance of migrant workers to
the hospitality industry of peripheral locations in the UK.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on data collected through in-depth surveys of
and focus group discussions with migrant workers in hotels in three peripheral locations in the UK.
Findings – Findings point to varied experiences for international workers in terms of recruitment
and selection of international workers; their work-related and social integration within the workforce
and the wider community; aspirations for training and development among international employees;
insights into the futures that migrant workers see for themselves; and their overall experience of
living and working in the UK.
Research limitations/implications – The study is located in three regions of the UK and each
study is of relatively small scale. This is a potential limitation but compensation is afforded by the
depth of information collected in each location.
Practical implications – The study suggests that employers are unwilling to invest in the
development of international staff who have high levels of general education and training that is not
sector specific. Promotion opportunities are seen to be limited. The paper points to the need for
hospitality management to make more effective use of this source of labour.
Originality/value – This paper is the first to undertake a study of the migrant worker experience in
peripheral areas of the UK and to focus on a diverse skills sector such as hospitality.
Keywords Migrant workers, Hospitality services, Labour market, United Kingdom
Paper type Research paper

This paper is concerned with a labour market feature of contemporary hospitality in the
UK that is both newly emergent and rapidly increasing in significance. This is the
growing dependence of hospitality businesses in remoter parts of the country upon
migrant, predominantly international, workers to meet both numerical and skills gaps
within local labour markets. Migrant labour is not a new phenomenon in the hospitality
industry but its use, particularly in Europe, has been historically concentrated in major
urban centres. Hospitality businesses in more peripheral locations, by contrast, have
generally recruited homogenously from within local communities. Hospitality businesses
in peripheral locations face particular challenges, none so more than in terms of their
access to quality human resources. This paper will address the nature of migrant labour
in hospitality in Northern Ireland, the Lake District and Scotland and, based on the Cross Cultural Management: An
outcomes of three parallel surveys, will consider and contrast the experiences of these International Journal
Vol. 14 No. 3, 2007
workers in these peripheral regions of the UK. pp. 229-239
Governments in the contemporary world are increasingly recognising the benefits # Emerald Group Publishing Limited
of labour migration to a country’s economy. Migrant workers can be beneficial to the DOI 10.1108/13527600710775775
CCM economy in a multitude of ways: in particular, they are able to fill gaps in the domestic
14,3 labour market and alleviate skills shortages (Schneider and Holman, 2005;
Sriskandarajah et al., 2004) as well as increasing the levels of employment which, in
turn, helps to raise gross domestic product. Their age profile is such that they use less
in the way of services but contribute to tax and national insurance payments which, in
turn, help to finance future pensions.
230 Estimating the total number of migrants who are working in the UK is difficult and,
indeed, politically controversial because of the varying definitions attached to
migrants in the labour market and the different systems of recording the inflow and
outflow of people. According to data collected through the Labour Force Survey, the
numbers of migrants working in the UK rose strongly in the late 1990s. Recorded
figures in 2005 were 1.504 million, a 4.1 per cent increase from 2004. The largest group
of migrants in the UK are Europeans (45 per cent) and the numbers of Central and
Eastern Europeans over the past couple of years has increased to 306,000, 10.1 per cent
of all foreign workers in 2005, almost double that of 2004 when the figure was 184,000
(6.4 per cent). The largest single national group is from Poland (Salt, 2005) and, in
addition, significant numbers of Slovakians and Lithuanians have also found work in
the UK.

Migrant labour in hospitality

The importance of labour migration to the workforce of the contemporary hospitality
industry is well documented (Shaw and Barrett-Power, 1998; D’Netto and Sohal, 1999;
Williams, 2005; Baum, 2006). Hospitality businesses have long relied on a culturally
diverse workforce (Christensen-Hughes, 1992). Baum (2006) discusses the important
role that, primarily, southern Europeans played in developing the culture and character
of hospitality operations in industrialised Europe in the 19th and much of the 20th
centuries. However, contemporary labour migration, within hospitality in Europe, has
received limited attention from researchers. Widespread labour shortages and other
labour market changes resulting from the impacts of a combination of, among others,
demographic, globalisation and economic factors in Europe are leading hotel operators
to hire new employees from a wide range of less developed and transition economy
countries. Traditionally concentrated in core, urban centres, multiculturalism within
the hospitality labour market is now a phenomenon that has reached geographically
peripheral areas, such as Northern Ireland, the Lake District and rural Scotland.
Discussion of this relatively new experience for these locations is subject to increasing
press coverage but has not been the focus of significant research and objective
analysis. By contrast, the debate in the Irish Republic has focused on practical
employment concerns but has also addressed the extent to which multiculturalism
impacts upon the tourist image of the destination and its inhabitants. Both McManus
(2005) and Baum et al. (2007) look at the contradictions that have emerged between
modern, urban and multi-cultural Ireland (the Celtic tiger) and the pastoral images of
the West that still dominate in formal tourism marketing.

Migrant labour in Northern Ireland, the Lake District and Scotland

The three geographical areas covered by this paper are served by varying levels and
quality of data pertaining to migrant labour. As a result, it should be noted that direct
comparison between the three locations, in labour market terms, is difficult because of
the differing quality and focus of the information that is available.
Limited information is available about migrant labour in Northern Ireland, both in Cultural
terms of the general labour market and in the context of tourism and hospitality. diversity in
Indeed, Jarman (2004) notes the increased visibility of migrant workers in Northern
Ireland but comments on the absence of information about them and their reasons for hospitality work
choosing Northern Ireland for work. Jarman reports that, within an estimated legal
migrant worker population of over 14,000 (excluding Great Britain and the Republic of
Ireland) in 2001, some 4,600 were from other European Union states and the balance, at
over 9,000, from elsewhere. Jarman further reports that, of the total migrant population
in the Northern Ireland workforce, some, 1,827 were working in hotels and restaurants.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that this figure has increased since 2001.
The Lake District occupies a position in the geographical periphery of England, in
the North-West region. In the context of England as a whole, the Lake District
constitutes the embodiment of the ‘‘rural idyll’’. The Lake District attracts large
numbers of, invariably, high skilled and qualified, prosperous, in-migrants that drive
population growth. The new arrivals are relatively affluent individuals equipped with
distinct attributes and networks of contacts so that, they acquire land and housing
quite easily, pushing prices up, and forcing locally born people to move out of their
settlements of origin towards local towns or even further afield. As a result, the Lake
District attracts a relatively high number of low skill job seekers to fill in the labour
gaps, especially in occupations that local labour is shunning for better paid work
elsewhere, such as hospitality.
In Scotland, figures from 2001 show that 168,142 (3.3 per cent) of people living there
were immigrants. Scotland as a whole has had one of the fastest increases in migrant
numbers since 1991 with most people settling in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Figures
suggest more than 24,000 citizens from new EU accession countries are now working
in Scotland (Northrop, 2006). Citizens from Poland are the largest group with around
18,000 and, added to the existing Polish community, they now total approximately
30,000 (Riddoch, 2006).

The purpose of this research study was to address a range of questions about migrant
workers in the hospitality sector of peripheral locations. Specifically, this study seeks
to seek information on:
(1) The profile of migrant workers in the Northern Ireland, Lake District and
Scottish hospitality.
(2) The nature of work undertaken by migrant workers in the hospitality sector.
(3) Perceptions of work in hospitality held by migrant workers in hospitality.
(4) Working conditions of migrant workers – pay, accommodation, training.
(5) The extent and nature of integration by migrant workers in their workplace
and in the wider community.
(6) Aspirations for the future – within their current work locations and elsewhere.
This research focuses on the experiences of international employees working in a
variety of hotels in the three research locations. The research was carried out during
the summers of 2005 and 2006. In the main, participating hotels were small to medium
in size and primarily independently/family owned although a small number were chain
operated. In Northern Ireland, nine hotels participated in the study; in Scotland the
CCM total was eight establishments; while, in the Lake District, the research was conducted
14,3 in five hotels, all part of the same group and under common ownership.
In Northern Ireland, the study included 82 employees from 17 countries, using focus
groups in each establishment. Participation by international employees in Northern
Ireland ranged from 15 to 100 per cent of the total international workforce in each
establishment. Each respondent was first asked to respond to a self-completion
232 questionnaire, which addressed questions relating to who international workers are –
their backgrounds, training profiles and working experiences. This questionnaire was
also used in Scotland but on a self-completion basis and 38 usable returns were
received (a 21 per cent response rate of those distributed). In the Lake District, both self-
completion questionnaires and focus groups were utilised. The five hotels employ
approximately 236 workers of whom, 50.42 per cent are international workers. Of 120
questionnaires distributed as part of the Lake District survey, a total of 64 were
returned (a 53 per cent response rate). In addition, six focus group sessions, with
between six and eight participants each, were conducted within four hotels.
All three studies addressed the perspectives of hotel managers in parallel to that of
migrant workers. Data from the management surveys are not reported here.

Key comparative findings

Who are the international employees?
Responses were received from staff originating from a wide range of countries in all
three surveys, within the EU, elsewhere in Europe and outwith Europe (Table I),
demonstrating clearly the workforce diversity that accessing migrant labour provides.
The gender balance of respondents varies significantly across the three studies,
with considerably lower male representation in the Lake District and Scotland than in
Northern Ireland. The vast majority of respondents across the three samples were
under 30, unmarried and with no family responsibilities (Table II). These findings
accord with general data on migrant workers in the UK.
A majority of respondents have been living and or working in the region for less
than 12 months but a significant minority, particularly in Scotland, appear to be fairly
settled in the location.

Obtaining information about work in their chosen location

Table III shows that just over half of the international staff have come to their current
location and found work in the hospitality industry by word of mouth or as a result of
being referred by family and friends. A substantial number were made aware of
employment opportunities via an employment agency.
One South African respondent said, ‘‘soon after arriving in London, I put up with a
few friends but realised it was key to find a live-in job, accommodation was expensive
there, a look through the net, the Lake District popped up, never heard of it, but so many
miles away from home, anywhere, anything was fine. . . a few phone calls, I had a job’’.
Not all responses were positive. A Lithuanian employee noted ‘‘I saved every penny
for four months to raise the equivalent of £400 pounds which I paid to an agency back
home to get a job in UK. I was ecstatic when I got a job offer and a week later, with little
details on my forthcoming job, I was quick to arrange my travel to the UK. Upon
arrival I was welcomed by a back breaking job which so far I have realised is not only
physically draining but also pays very little to survive on in this country’’.
Country Northern Ireland The Lake District Scotland Samples combined Cultural
diversity in
EU member countries 46 (55%) 46 (72%) 29 (76%) 121 (66%) hospitality work
Czech Republic 3 (3.6%) 0 1 (2.6%) 4 (2%)
France 2 (2.4%) 2 (3.1%) 4 (10.5%) 8 (4%)
Germany 0 1 (1.6%) 0 1 (0.5%)
Hungary 0 4 (6.3%) 0 4 (2%)
Italy 1 (1.2%) 0 1 (2.6%) 2 (1%) 233
Latvia 2 (2.4%) 1 (1.6%) 0 3 (1.5%)
Lithuania 2 (2.4%) 3 (4.7%) 1 (2.6%) 6 (3%)
Poland 32 (39%) 28 (43.8%) 14 (36.8%) 74 (42%)
Slovakia 1 (1.2%) 7 (7.9%) 7 (18.4%) 15 (8%)
Slovenia 2 (2.4%) 0 0 2 (1%)
Spain 1 (1.2%) 0 1 (2.6%) 2 (1%)
Non-EU European 16 (20%) 2 (3%) 0 18 (9.5%)
Bulgaria 5 (6.1% 1 (1.6%) 0 6 (3%)
Moldova 1 (1.2%) 1 (1.6%) 0 2 (1%)
Russia 9 (11%) 0 0 9 (5%)
Ukraine 1 (1.2%) 0 0 1 (0.5%)
Non-EU other 20 (25%) 16 (25%) 9 (24%) 45 (24.5%)
Australia 0 1 (1.6%) 1 (2.6%) 2 (1%)
Canada 0 0 2 (5.3%) 2 (1%)
China 1 (1.2%) 0 0 1 (0.5%)
India 8 (9.8%) 0 1 (2.6%) 9 (5%)
Kenya 0 2 (3.1%) 0 2 (1%)
Namibia 0 1 (1.6%) 0 1 (0.5%)
New Zealand 0 1 (1.6%) 0 1 (0.5%)
Philippines 10 (12.2%) 5 (7.8%) 0 15 (9%)
South Africa 1 (1.2%) 5 (7.8%) 1 (2.6%) 7 (4%)
Sudan 0 0 1 (2.6%) 1 (0.5%)
Uraguay 0 0 1 (2.6%) 1 (0.5%)
United States 0 1 (1.6%) 1 (2.6%) 2 (1%) Table I.
Total 82 (100%) 64 (100%) 38 (100%) 184 (100%) Country of origin

Table IV points to a high level of educational attainment among respondents relative to
the perceived demands of the job and this is consistent with wider experiences of
hospitality employment in transition economies within which front line work,

Northern The Lake Samples

Demographic attributes Ireland District Scotland combined

Male 45 (55%) 23 (36%) 16 (42%) 84 (46%)

Female 37 (45%) 41 (64%) 22 (58%) 100 (54%)
Married 27 (33%) 17 (27%) 7 (19%) 51 (28%)
Unmarried 55 (67%) 47 (73%) 31 (81%) 133 (72%)
1+ children 22 (27%) 17 (17%) 5 (13%) 44 (24%)
Age: <30 74 (84%) 50 (78%) 25 (78%) 149 (81%)
Age: >30 8 (16%) 14 (22%) 13 (22%) 35 (19%)
Working in location: <12 months 66 (80%) 32 (50%) 16 (45%) 114 (62%)
Working in location: 12-24 months 13 (14%) 27 (42%) 5 (14%) 45 (24%) Table II.
Working in location: >24 months 5 (6%) 5 (8%) 15 (31%) 25 (14%) Demographic attributes
CCM particularly in multinational hospitality companies, is frequently undertaken by
14,3 ‘‘overqualified’’ graduates from a range of subject disciplines and for a variety of
reasons. Interesting, only a minority of those employed in hotels have received formal
training for this form of work although a number have education or experience in an
area where skills transfer to hospitality is relatively easy.
In terms of additional training opportunities, the main concern related to improving
234 English language skills. Focus group respondents considered learning English
important not only for use in the hotels but also to better their chances in acquiring
jobs elsewhere. In relation to this, one Polish respondent said, ‘‘My colleagues keep
questioning why I have to work in the housekeeping department yet my English is
comparatively good. Unlike my colleagues still learning the language, I do realize that I
stand a better chance of getting a job elsewhere, in a restaurant or retail’’.

Respondents and their job scope

Job scope is generally confined to specific departments of the hotel. The most common
department is food and beverage, kitchen and housekeeping (Table V). Few
international staff work in direct customer contact areas (other than food service) such
as reception and conferencing, perhaps due to the communications requirements of
A very significant proportion of staff work in rank and file, non-supervisory
positions in their hotels, a finding that is not altogether surprising in view of length of
service and a lack of hospitality training (Table VI).

Source Northern Ireland Lake District Scotland Combined sample

Employment agency 20 (24.4%) 23 (35.9%) 2 (5.3%) 45 (24.4%)

Friend/family 43 (52.4%) 33 (51.6%) 17 (44.7%) 93 (50.5%)
Advertisement 0 3 (4.7%) 1 (2.6%) 4 (2.2%)
Internet 5 (6.1%) 4 (6.3%) 5 (13.2%) 14 (7.6%)
Table III. Previous visit 5 (6.1%) 1 (1.6%) 1 (2.6%) 7 (3.8%)
How were you made Word of mouth 2 (2.4%) 0 2 (5.3%) 4 (2.2%)
aware of employment Combination of factors 0 0 5 (13.1%) 5 (2.7%)
opportunities in work Other 7 (8.5%) 0 5 (13.1%) 12 (6.6%)
location? Total 82 (100%) 64 (100%) 38 (100%) 184 (100%)

Educational level Northern Ireland The Lake District Scotland Combined samples

Primary 0 0 1 (2.6%) 1 (0.5%)

Secondary 8 (9.8%) 14 (21.9%) 8 (21.1%) 30 (16.3%)
Vocational 16 (19.5%) 9 (14.1%) 4 (10.5%) 29 (15.8%)
Certificate/diploma 20 (24.4%) 12 (18.8%) 6 (15.8%) 38 (20.6%)
Bachelors degree 27 (32.9%) 20 (31.3%) 10 (26.3%) 57 (31%)
Masters level 11 (13.4%) 9 (14.1%) 9 (23.7%) 29 (15.8%)
Total 82 (100%) 64 (100%) 38 (100%) 184 (100%)
Table IV. Previously studied
Educational attainment hospitality 19 (23%) 15 (23.4) 5 (13.2%) 39 (21.2%)
Where promotion is achieved by migrant workers, it is not always on a wholly Cultural
equitable basis. There were some instances of perceived discrimination by diversity in
management. One Filipino respondent reported that the management had promoted
him to restaurant supervisor because a vacancy had existed for six months . . . ‘‘I was hospitality work
delighted to be promoted, but I did not receive a higher wage . . . I get paid the
minimum wage, yet I know that the previous supervisor was paid much more for the
same responsibilities’’. 235
Work and careers
In all three locations, over 80 per cent of respondents had worked in their current hotel
for less than one year, pointing both to the impact of seasonality and the degree of
instability within the hospitality workplace in general. For over 60 per cent of
respondents, their current hotel is their first taste of work in this sector. Labour
turnover, within this group, is also influenced by the desire to return to their home
country and to benefit from their savings, a significant proportion of which are
remitted home on a regular basis.
Respondents were asked about their future career plans. The findings across the
three surveys indicate that staying in the hotel industry and moving out of the industry
reflects a relatively equal divide. In terms of how long respondents plan to remain in
their current job, the studies suggest that plans are vague, perhaps as a result of the
lack of commitment to the current establishment (due to poor wages or length of a
contract/working visa) and or the choice of other opportunities available within the
hotel labour market.
Table VII indicates that promotion opportunities are recognised as being poor,
although significant variation exists between sample responses. High levels of
uncertainty are evident in the Lake District and Scottish responses.

Northern The Lake Combined

Department Ireland District Scotland sample

Reception 5 (6.1%) 4 (6.3%) 1 (2.6%) 10 (5.4%)

Housekeeping 11 (13.4%) 19 (29.7%) 4 (10.5%) 34 (18.5%)
Kitchen 33 (40.4%) 9 (14.0%) 5 (13.2%) 47 (25.5%)
Food and beverage 30 (36.5%) 27 (42.2%) 17 (44.7%) 74 (40.2%)
Leisure centre and spa 0 5 (7.8%) 0 5 (2.7%)
Other 3 (3.6%) 0 8 (21.1%) 11 (6%) Table V.
Combination of responsibilities 0 0 3 (7.9%) 3 (1.7%) Migrant workers – job
Total 82 (100%) 64 (100%) 38 (100%) 184 (100%) scope

Position of respondents Northern Ireland Lake District Scotland Combined sample

Department manager 1 (1.2%) 2 (3.1%) 3 (7.9%) 6 (3.3%)

Supervisor 1 (1.2%) 6 (9.4%) 4 (10.5%) 11 (6%)
Rank and file staff 70 (85.4%) 54 (84.4%) 30 (78.9%) 153 (83.6%)
Trainee 10 (12.2%) 2 (3.1%) 1 (2.6%) 13 (7.1%) Table VI.
Total 82 (100%) 64 (100%) 38 (100%) 184 (100%) Position of respondents
CCM Experiences in the workplace
In general most of the participants feel happy in their workplaces, stating that local
14,3 staff are very supportive. The majority of the respondents experienced no hostility. Of
those that did experience forms of hostility, it was manifested through negative
attitudes from management – having ‘‘little patience and informing the staff not to
speak their native language among themselves in the workplace’’.
Other areas of hostility included negative attitudes from the local staff – especially
236 in the beginning. Examples included, ‘‘always being told what to do’’, ‘‘shouted at due to
impatience’’, ‘‘misunderstandings in communication due to language difficulties’’. Some
of the respondents stated that local staff would make them do the ‘‘dirty/heavier’’ jobs
such as ‘‘setting up of the dining room’’, ‘‘preparation and delivery of the breakfast
trays to the bedrooms’’.

Perceptions of work and life

Respondents were asked to respond to a series of statements about experiences since
their arrival in their current work environment. They were asked to indicate the extent
of their satisfaction to a number of areas that could be of concern to incomers. A five
point Likert-type scale used allowed responses from Very Low Satisfaction (1) through
to Very Satisfied (5). Table VIII indicates the mean response to each statement.

Promotion opportunities Northern Lake Combined

in my current hotel are Ireland District Scotland sample

Excellent 3 (3.7%) 4 (6.3%) 5 (13.1%) 12 (6.5%)

Satisfactory 9 (11%) 18 (28.6%) 13 (34.2%) 40 (21.7%)
Poor 59 (72%) 13 (20.6%) 6 (15.8%) 78 (42.4%)
Table VII. Do not know 11 (13.3%) 29 (44.4%) 14 (36.9%) 54 (29.4%)
Promotion opportunities Total 82 (100%) 64 (100%) 38 (100%) 184 (100%)

Statement on Northern Ireland Lake District Scotland

experiences (n = 82) (n = 64) (n = 38)

Customer acceptance 4.26 (1) 4.35 (2) 3.72 (3)

Staff acceptance 4.21 (2) 4.40 (1) 3.73 (2)
Management attitudes towards you 4.16 (3) 3.74 (5) 3.43 (7)
Accommodation 3.87 (4) 3.29 (9) 3.84 (1)
Medical facilities on offer 3.71 (5) 3.25 (10) 3.36 (9)
Essential goods/services 3.71 (6) 3.43 (8) 3.50 (4)
Racism towards you 3.66 (7) 4.04 (3) 3.46 (5)
Cultural differences 3.60 (8) 3.64 (6) 3.25 (11)
Communication networks 3.56 (9) 2.98 (12) 3.46 (5)
Cost-of-living 3.40 (10) 3.21 (11) 2.97 (13)
Language barriers 3.38 (11) 3.60 (7) 3.29 (10)
Crime/harassment experienced 3.34 (12) 3.96 (4) 3.05 (12)
Education/training opportunities 3.28 (13) 2.87 (14) 3.39 (8)
Table VIII. Food 2.89 (14) 2.89 (13) 2.77 (14)
Satisfaction level of
working and living Notes: Rank order correlation (Spearman’s r): Northern Ireland and the Lake District = +0.64;
experiences Northern Ireland and Scotland = +0.75; The Lake District and Scotland = +0.38
Table VIII provides a mixed picture of perceptions across a wide range of areas relating Cultural
to experiences of working and living in Northern Ireland, the Lake District and
Scotland and also significant divergence in perceptions held by respondents in the
diversity in
three samples, as indicated in the varying levels of rank order correlation between the hospitality work
sample responses. Generally, respondents are very satisfied with the experience of
customer acceptance, with most of the respondents stating that people are very
welcoming and interested in their home country. Staff acceptance and management
attitudes were also rated as very positive. By contrast, respondents in Northern Ireland 237
and Scotland had lower tolerance of the general level of crime and harassment that
they experienced but this was less of a concern in the exclusively rural Lake District.
Elaborating on these points, some problems were noted with respect to employer
expectations in the workplace. Several respondents perceived that their supervisors
allocated them excessive duties and one Slovak Respondent said, ‘‘my ex-manager tried
to make me do work for two people, I only have two hands’’, while a Hungarian
respondent commented that, ‘‘we work ourselves to exhaustion especially in busy
periods it is seen as normal, but if you do something wrong, you get told off’’.
Although customer acceptance of migrant workers was high, some exceptions were
reported. ‘‘. . . on return to the table the customer stated he did not want the ketchup,
but was wondering if I understood what was being asked for’’ (Bulgarian respondent).

Discussion and conclusions

This paper reports an exploratory study on international employees in a small number
of hospitality establishments in three UK locations. The study investigates their
background and countries of origin, skills and qualification levels and the experience
of migrant workers within the hospitality sector. The studies suggest that the
workplace and personal needs of international workers, who have recently arrived in
this country, are different from those of the native local staff.
The basic level of educational attainment of international workers in hospitality is
high, suggesting short-term over-qualification relative to the demands of the job. Use of
English is the main barrier at present to full exploitation of their general education and
this is a barrier that is likely to reduce over time. There is a perception among
international employees that employers tend to assume that they were only capable of
low-skilled work. As a result, the skills of many migrant workers may be under-used in
the labour market. This view is shared by ( Jarman, 2004; Holmquist, 2005) in stating
that, despite appreciating the talents of migrant workers, employers may be under-
utilising their skills.
There is some evidence of the experience of discrimination, abuse and harassment
by migrant workers. Findings from these studies point to a number of practices which
employers of a diverse workforce can implement to the benefit of both employees and
the establishment through more effective appraisal and training. There are some but
not major issues relating to harassment and racism in the workplace and these could be
reduced if appropriate human resource policies and procedures are in place and
communicated to all staff (national and international) in order to deal with cultural
diversity. There is a need to train the domestic workforce as to why the firm is hiring
from abroad and what to expect (Paton, 2004). Therefore, the role of multi-cultural
training for all employees is important.
Finally, the studies point to the value of more effective integration and socialisation
of international workers with their local colleagues and the wider community. Some
good practices have been presented in the form of free and subsidised accommodation
CCM and a planned football tournament within the local community. More staff integration
14,3 activities such as social events involving the workplace and wider community may
help international workers to settle in quickly and feel more comfortable in their new
This paper suggests the value of further and more detailed analysis of the role that
multi-cultural understanding through education and training can play in ensuring that
238 all stakeholders benefit from the new experience of diversity in the hospitality sector of
peripheral locations. The study points to the need for further research into the
perceptions of other stakeholders with an interest in the diversification of the
hospitality workforce in peripheral locations – working colleagues, managers,
customers and the local community.

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Further reading
Baum, T. and Devine, F. (2005), ‘‘Skills and the service sector: the case of hotel front office
employment in Northern Ireland’’, paper presented at the Tourism and Hospitality
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