A new report by the San Diego Tourism Authority and the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center dispels myths about tourism jobs, showing they extend far beyond the leisure and hospitality sector, reaching into industries such as finance, law, transportation and business services. The study, Elevating Opportunities: San Diego’s Tourism Jobs Create Economic and Social Mobility, shows that when tourism jobs are more accurately defined to include these sectors and account for tips, the average hourly pay is $28 for direct tourism jobs and $32 for indirect tourism jobs.
“The tourism industry is vital to San Diego’s economy, and to the lives of the residents working in the 214,000 jobs it provides,” said Daniel Enemark, PhD, chief economist at the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center. “This report dispels unfair myths about the industry, showing the large number of high-quality tourism jobs. It also reveals worker’s priorities and insights for further improving those jobs and attracting future workers.”
Contrary to popular belief, only slightly more than half of 214,000 total tourism jobs fall within the leisure and hospitality segment, which includes hotels, restaurants and casino jobs. The remaining positions span an array of sectors including finance, law, information technology, transportation and more.
Backed by interviews with more than 500 San Diegans working in the industry, key findings listed in the report include how tourism jobs:
- Promote Economic and Social Diversity: From hoteliers to legal experts and general contractors to food purveyors, the potential for growth and advancement is vast, challenging conventional career paths.
- Empower Mobility: More than 70% of tourism occupations do not require a college degree, and approximately three-quarters demand minimal or no on-the-job training.
- Provide Flexible Stability: Tourism jobs offer the rare combination of part-time flexibility and stable wages. A staggering 89% of surveyed employees expressed satisfaction with their earnings.
- Offer Compelling Wages: Tourism jobs, both direct and indirect, command notable living wages.
- Create Industry Continuity: The survey revealed the majority of tourism workers who had previous tourism jobs remained within the industry in their current roles.
According to Nate Kelley, director of research at SDTA, “These findings change the perception around the value and the quality of tourism jobs within our region and show that tourism offers a viable path to economic and financial well-being through a whole host of channels.”
Read the report, as well as testimonials from tourism workers, here.