Exploring hospitality workers' career choices in the wake of COVID-19: Insights from a phenomenological inquiry

Bingjie Liu-Lastres, Wei-jue Huang, Huilin Bao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic severely hit the hospitality industry and caused employees concerns over health, finance, and well-being. These challenges may trigger their decisions to leave the profession, leading to major talent crises in the industry. Guided by the transactional model of stress and coping and the career construction theory, this study explored how their experiences with the pandemic affected their career choices moving on. A phenomenological approach was adopted, and 31 current and past hospitality employees were interviewed. The findings supported the conceptual model and addressed the connection between stress management and career decisions among the participants. It is also noted that, besides generational differences, most participants' career decisions at this critical moment were influenced by their personality traits, industry involvement, and employer-employee relationships. Thus, to create a sustainable, resilient, and engaged workforce, hospitality practitioners must commit to crafting positive relationships with their employees both in regular and crisis times.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103485
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Career Construction Theory
  • Career decisions
  • COVID-19
  • Stress Coping
  • Turnover intentions
  • Workforce Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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