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Study Finds Hospitality Wages Lagging

August 9th, 2019 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida’s tourism and hospitality industry employs one point five million people, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, a new study from Florida State suggests the industry pays the lowest wages in the US economy.

Dr. Tarik Dogru’s first job was as a busboy in Turkey. He’s spent much of the last two years of studying more than a decades worth of national wage data. His conclusion: Hospitality pay checks aren’t keeping pace with the rest of the economy.

“When overall wages in the economy goes up by one percent, or one dollar, the hospitality wages only go up by point eight, or eighty-one cents”, says Dogru.

 

The PhD researcher says paying less in the short run makes for bigger profits. “But in the long run it makes it difficult for them to retain and attract people.”

What the study doesn’t take into account is tipping. That’s because keeping track of tips is near impossible. In cities like New York, Chicago, or Seattle attempts to phase out tipping have failed.

“So it’s a great place to start” says Jerry Parrish, the Chief Economist for the Florida Chamber. Parrish says hospitality jobs pay better in Florida than most other states.

“In leisure and hospitality, Florida workers make eighteen hundred dollars more than the 

Average worker in the US, and they don’t pay state income tax here.”

Q:”So its a good job here?”

“It some cases they certainly are. Even more importantly is often its a path to a good job.” 

And the one thing the researcher and economist agree upon. Hospitality jobs are usually temporary and just like the PhD researcher, often a first job. 

The Chambers Chief economist also says two out of five people who start in hospitality end up with jobs making six figures, in part because of the people skills they learn.

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