Travel and tourism are pivotal to the Egyptian economy, contributing 12% to the country’s GDP in 2019. Within this industry, travel agencies play a key role, and so the Egyptian government has a keen interest in facilitating their growth. The hospitality and tourism industry globally is hampered by high levels of employee turnover, and Egyptian travel agencies are no exception to this trend. For this reason, new research by Abou-shouk and Maher published in Hospitality and Tourism Research investigates factors which may influence Egyptian travel agency employee’s decision to leave their roles. Particularly, researchers focused on the relationships between employee ‘voice’, job satisfaction and employee’s gender as factors which may affect employee’s intention to leave their role.
Employee ‘voice’ refers to the ability of employees to express themselves, give advice, and discuss concerns about aspects of their jobs. From this, researchers distinguish between employee voice when speaking ‘out’- discussions between co-workers- and speaking ‘up’, which relates specifically to discussions between junior employees and senior management. Some of the results of the new study were unsurprising: within the sample, there was found to be a correlation between employees speaking out, and their job satisfaction, as well as a still stronger link between speaking up and subsequent job satisfaction. Results also indicated that job satisfaction correlates with employee retention within the surveyed travel agencies.
More interestingly, whilst job satisfaction and employee retention rate correlated equally regardless of gender, men gained more satisfaction than women from speaking out and up. Like other studies before it, this suggests that women working in tourism are more likely to leave their roles, and more likely to experience job dissatisfaction. Egyptian women’s lack of ‘voice’ in the tourism industry provides a further factor to explain these effects, others including their more limited career opportunities and additional responsibilities in their wider lives.
Overall, the article demonstrates that employers within Egyptian travel agencies should be sensitive to the effects of gender on the dynamic between colleagues and management. It is important that emotional bonds between employees and managers are fostered, and in doing so managers should consider the different needs of male and female employees. For women, the results show it is particularly important to offer praise, listen closely, and support their work-life balance to reduce work-family conflict.
Equality in Tourism fully supports the conclusions of the study and suggests that such measures could yield more effective communication, greater respect for both male and female employees, as well as more equitable treatment of women within Egyptian tourist agencies.
Abou-Shouk, M. Elbaz, and M. A., Maher, A. 2021. Breaking the silence of travel agency employees: The moderating role of gender. Tourism and Hospitality Research. 0(0). 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1467358420988048