As a sector, leisure and hospitality makes up roughly 8.9% of total employment in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Between 2021 and 2031, the industry is projected to add 1.9 million jobs—more than 23% of all jobs created—in large part because of a return to travel and dining out following the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, the BLS reports that 7 of the 20 fastest-growing industries are within the leisure and hospitality space. And this growth in bars, restaurants, and hotels is helping to bring about the lowest U.S. unemployment rate in decades, says a March 2023 report from the Wall Street Journal.
What Is Driving Hospitality Growth?
The hospitality industry was one of the hardest hit during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the public health emergency ceases, nearly half of the U.S. population is planning to travel more in 2023 and beyond. To meet the demand for travel, many leisure and hospitality employers are ramping up recruitment efforts accordingly.
Now, if you are an owner-operator or franchisee, you may have very different staffing needs than a national hotel brand, but no matter how you operate, chances are filling open roles has been a challenge lately.
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Coupled with the growth in hospitality staffing, more organizations are relying on technology to shape how they recruit and the types of roles they are hiring for.
We’ve seen more hiring managers turning to hospitality staffing partners while leveraging online job boards, applicant tracking systems, and social media to source candidates. If you’ve got the backing of a corporate HR team, make sure you understand everything you have access to for sourcing candidates. If you’re a franchisee or operating a small restaurant or coffee bar, tap your network or industry organizations to find out the best candidate sourcing tools to access right now.
The BLS also tells us that some of the areas of hospitality hiring that will likely have the highest demand include food and beverage services, amusement parks, arcades, and performance arts companies. What does that mean for staffing hospitality jobs in the U.S.? Let’s take a look at the roles within hospitality that are expected to have the highest growth in the next decade.
Hospitality Jobs Expected to Have Highest Growth in the Next Decade
1. Events Specialists
One of the highest growth areas within hospitality and leisure is events specialists, especially promoters of events, event managers, and agents. Convention center booking was predicted to increase 13% in 2023 as compared to 2022, a strong indicator for a growth year in group travel. According to an American Express survey of meeting and event professionals, 65% of respondents said their spend on meetings and events was going to increase in 2023.
Between 2018 and 2028, event planner job growth is expected to increase by 7 percent leading to roughly 9,600 additional jobs. This growth appears to be a result of the rising return of live experiences like concerts and bespoke marketing events. Event planner salaries have risen with the average base salary currently estimated at $64,225 in 2023.
2. Performing Arts
As live events return, hiring is needed for more than just the event planners. Hiring is up for entertainment roles within the hospitality industry, such as singers, actors, dancers, and comedians. According to the BLS, employment for performing artists is projected to grow 4 percent in the decade between 2021 and 2031, with a median hourly wage of $30.49, over $60,000 annually.
3. Spectator Sports
These can range from team managers, coaches, athletes, and player scouts. Between February 2022 and 2023, the spectator sports industry saw an explosive 24.2 percent growth as the appetite for live sports returned. The average full-time employee at a spectator sports hospitality group makes $75,175 annual salary and has the highest concentration of industry jobs available in areas such as Philadelphia, HYPERLINK “https://insightglobal.com/locations/south-carolina/staffing-agency-charleston-sc/”Hilton Head, SC, and Boynton Beach, FL.
4. Traveler Accommodations
Total travel spending is up as Americans desire to return to pre-pandemic lifestyles becomes clear. Between May 2022 and 2023, total spending was up 5.5 percent. To accommodate the influx of travelers are workers who manage traveler accommodations in the hospitality industry. According to the BLS, traveler accommodations will be one of the twenty highest-growth jobs between 2021-2031.
5. Restaurant and Bar Staff
By the end of 2023, the National Restaurant Association predicts industry employment will grow to 12.4 million workers, up from 11.4 million at the end of 2021. More than 60 percent of surveyed restaurants report being understaffed—something that has played a role in wage growth in this sector to stand out in the competitive hiring landscape. Data from the BLS shows that wages for nonsupervisory food workers increased by $1.46/hour during 2022, $2.37 during 2021, and will continue to rise throughout 2023.
As more people return to traveling and more hospitality organizations invest in technologies, there is a growing need for IT and cybersecurity specialists. More than half of travelers (56 percent) report feeling concerned about the security of the data provided to hotels. Cybersecurity specialists ensure guest data is secure, encrypted, and following all regulations. According to a CISO Benchmark Report, retail and hospitality companies are investing more than ever in the security of consumer data, making this a growth area.
7. Project Management
With all of the changes occurring in hospitality, many organizations are hiring dedicated project managers to help them plan and execute new projects, such as modernizing technology stacks, upgrading facilities, or rolling out new branding. According to the PMI’s talent gap report, 2.3 million people are needed annually to fill the project management positions expected to open by 2030.
Find Your Next Dream Hospitality Role
Regardless of what role you are pursuing or what you’re planning for your business, there is a lot of opportunity for long-term career growth within the hospitality industry. Insight Global can staff for positions in all areas of hospitality. Check out our job board or reach out to one of our staffing partner for direct support in filling your open positions.
Contact us to learn more about our candidates, our approach, and how we can make hiring easy.
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