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Title: The experiences of Polish migrant workers in the UK hospitality industry
Author: Janta, Hanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 6189
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2009
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Although the hospitality industry has historically relied on migrant workers, the influx of Poles to the UK following EU Enlargement in 2004 resulted in the unprecedented increase in numbers of those taking up jobs in the UK hospitality industry. Poland, being the largest of the new member states, became the largest supplier of labour from Central and Eastern European countries. Despite the sector's poor image of being low-skilled, badly paid, physically demanding and lacking clear career prospects, the industry has attracted many educated Poles who were able to fill problematic vacancies. The purpose of this research is to examine the experiences of Polish migrant workers in the UK's hospitality industry. It explores who the Polish workers employed in hospitality are as well as looking at the reasons for choosing to work in the sector. On this theme, the migrants' give their views on the UK hospitality sector and what they bring to and learn or gain from working in hospitality. Finally, the research investigates the role that hospitality plays in the adaptation of Polish migrants into life in the UK, which places the research in the wider social context of current migration issues and labour market influences. In order to achieve the research aim, a mixed method approach was employed using an online questionnaire, interviews and netnography - ethnography adapted to study online communities. The online questionnaire was distributed across fora for Poles and it collected 315 usable questionnaires. The choice of these research methods was shaped by the characteristics of the Polish community living in the UK, a mobile community of migrants, who use the internet extensively at various stages of the migration process. The findings of this research show that Polish migrants in the UK hospitality sector are young, below the age of 30, predominantly female and highly qualified. Despite the latter characteristic, migrants' methods for accessing employment point to a high level of informality; they find work through friends and family or by visiting hotel premises. Furthermore, migrants' views on hospitality as an occupation are diverse; satisfaction is derived from a lively and social environment, flexibility and career progression. Conversely, a 24/7/365 culture, pay rates and poor management are sources of disappointment. It is evident that migrant workers treat working experiences as investments, as 'stepping stones' to a better future. They felt that they acquired a range of new skills; the knowledge of the local labour market and local work experience, interpersonal and social skills and, most importantly: 'language capital'. The findings of this research demonstrate that the hospitality environment facilitates migrants' adaptation to life in the UK, providing social activities and a language- learning environment, allowing migrants to develop relationships with other groups; host nationals, Poles and other migrants.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tourism ; Commerce