Hospitality Sector and Decent Employment Opportunities - August 20, 2011

ILO-Pakistan has conducted a baseline study to establish gendered situation analysis of the hospitality sector. It centered geographically in the areas of Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi/Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan districts. The study observes that the hospitality sector needs to cultivate a culture of decent work where workers are provided jobs while their fundamental rights and providing social protection to them. This study has also identified that working conditions in the sector are plagued with low wages, non-existent career structures i.e. career planning, informal recruitment, unsocial and long working hours which include night and holiday shifts where all these factors lead to high labour turnover. The hospitality sector is a vast field, ranging from hotels/restaurants and transportation to recreation and entertainment/resorts and tourism, and is part of the service sector, which contributes to the 59% of GDP while employing 35% of workforce in Pakistan. The workers in this sector have diverse qualifications and have high employability but due to the current economic recession and low tourist activity, this sector has grown only negligibly.

This study has also identified that hospitality sector is gender segregated and there are instances of occupational segregation where women are relegated only to the caring and glamorous roles (like front office in hotels). This study has suggested that efforts for desegregation should also take into account employers’ interests because it is only through alignment of employers’ interests and equal opportunities that these desegregation efforts would be successful. This study has also recommended increased representation of women in unions so that there rights can be advocated through these forums.

Source: Published in The News International, August 20th, 2011