PR personnel in Taiwanese hotels: preferences, policies, and hiring decisions: a case study in Taipei
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Despite a larger number of female public relations (PR) practitioners, more men are in managerial positions in the global public relations industry. Other disparities, such as pay gaps, also exist between men and women. This global phenomenon has been widely discussed in the PR literature. Likewise, in the hospitality industry, women are facing similar inequalities. Noticeably, female PR practitioners in Taiwanese hotels outnumber male ones and also more women are in managerial positions. Considering that there has been minimal research focusing on PR personnel's status in the hotel industry, this study sought to investigate this phenomenon in Taiwan. The aim of this study is to ascertain why there are more women than men employed in PR roles in Taiwanese hotels. The research also sought to discover what factors influence recruitment decisions when hiring PR personnel. A qualitative, case study research methodology was adopted in this study to understand the issues concerning the gender diversity of PR roles and the selection requirements for PR personnel. The research was conducted with eight participants working in different hotels in Taipei, Taiwan, who were selected using a purposive sampling technique. Data was gathered from semi-structured interviews and then coded and analysed using the thematic analysis. The research concluded that the stereotype about PR jobs is the main reason for there being more female PR personnel in Taiwanese hotels. The gender perception of a PR job sees PR as a woman's job. Feminine charm and ease of communications were found to be important for PR people within Taiwanese hotels to better communicate with chefs and media representatives. Women's higher attention to detail was revealed as one aspect as to why women are considered to be more suitable for PR roles. Some preferred qualifications may also cause women to have a higher chance of being employed. Interpersonal skills were identified as the most important requirement for PR personnel to have. Aesthetic labour to enable PR people to represent the hotel was also found to be important. Other influencing factors such as qualification, writing skills, analytical skills, and industry knowledge were also identified in this study. The study suggests that although PR is generally seen as a woman's job, some important skills and traits were identified as important.