A large number of individuals over 40 chose hospitality as their second career. A major reason behind this is that it is often (wrongly) assumed that hospitality requires little formal education and that informal practice is sufficient…
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Furthermore, the hospitality industry offers a diversity of fields under its banner including franchising, tourism, catering, hotel management and many others. It is not surprising, therefore, that the number of people over 40 who choose hospitality as their second career is increasing. Although this number is growing, the process is full of challenges such as the gap between skills required and skills of individual, lack of prior industry experience as well as a mindset that is less flexible owing to seniority in age. This paper explores the various challenges encountered by these individuals in specific industries including franchising, tourism and hotels, along with potential suggestions to overcome the same. Franchising is a hospitality service that few individuals adopt as their first careers. It is usually adopted as a second career owing to retirement before time, redundancy, failure as an entrepreneur or due to mergers and acquisitions (Lashley, Conrad and Morrison 74). What is important to note is that these individuals come from diverse backgrounds including Defense forces. According to an article, an officer of the U.S Air Force, Stearns, has been the franchisee of the “Decorating Den” franchise since the past few years (Koss-Feder). We would anticipate such individuals to face management problems when their commitment to one career often translates to compromising the other one. Stearns, for instance, was summoned to “active duty” for an operation (Koss-Feder). However, due to the support network that she had in her franchise she was in constant contact with her employees (Koss-Feder). Divided attention due to managing both careers simultaneously may lower efficiency in both careers. However, franchises provide a safe option to such individuals and a lucrative opportunity to those who have been fired due to downsizing or have retired or are pursuing this business as a second career. This is because of several reasons. Firstly, substantial legal progress has been made with the effect that franchise agreements do not entail dictatorship of franchisors. Secondly, relaxation of disclosure requirements at the federal and state level has facilitated entry into the franchise business (Koss-Feder). Most importantly, however, is the fact that in some cases prior experience of the industry is not required, although it may be preferable. This is something that particularly draws individuals over 40 with a different prior experience to this business. Even though prior industry experience is not a mandatory requirement, financial institutions such as banks often give preference to those individuals who have proven record while lending. Furthermore, some studies suggest that qualifications in hospitality management are far less important than prior experience in the industry (Kim 9). This is a challenge for individuals over 40 who may have experience in some other field previously. Although qualification may still be obtained with much ease, the lack of experience cannot be compensated which gives such individuals a permanent disadvantage over others. The task of obtaining hospitality related qualifications remains a daunting task for such individuals. This is because in some cases, such individuals (over 40) may be working part-time in another profession. Hence, it would not be surprising to see a clash of time between the work hours and the time for hospitality related courses offered by institutions making time management a pressing issue for such individuals. Some institutions offer evening classes or classes on weekends to support such individuals. Also, financing such qualification may be difficult. To this end, some colleges such as the Liaison
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