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Tourism sector
Tourism industries profiles
Occupations in tourism industries
Profile of employees in tourism industries

The intent of this section is to highlight some of the findings and to illustrate some of the types of analyses the Human Resource Module (HRM) can support. The analysis will focus on the year 2009 and on comparisons with preceding years. A brief description of the general economic conditions prevailing in Canada and in the tourism sector in 2009 is provided first. This description is used as background for the subsequent analyses in sections 5.1 to 5.4.

Real Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 2.9% in 2009 in Canada following a 0.6% gain in 2008 (see Table 1). Exports dropped 14% and final domestic demand recorded a 1.7% decline, largely due to a 17% drop in business investment in plant and equipment. Since 1961, the only other annual declines in real GDP were recorded in 1982 (-2.9%) and 1991 (-2.1%).1

Tourism spending in Canada in tourism industries declined 2.6% in real terms in 2009 (compared to a growth of 2.0% in 2008), as spending by international visitors fell 9.5% and tourism spending by Canadians at home declined 0.6%. 2 This was the first annual decline in domestic tourism spending since 1991. Three factors help explain this lower spending:

  • the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) travel rules that came into effect June 1, requiring all persons entering the United States to have either a passport, NEXUS card, or an enhanced driver's license

  • Canadians cutting back on both their business and leisure travel with the downturn in economic conditions in late 2008

  • the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus in Mexico in April of 2009.

Tourism sector

This section aims to compare key variables of the HRM:  jobs, hours worked and compensation for the tourism sector in Canada with the overall economy over time.

Compensation for all jobs

Compensation3 reached $47.6 billion in 2009 for tourism industries in Canada, up 0.3% from the previous year, outpacing the 0.1% growth of compensation for the total economy (see Table 2). This growth was mainly due to increases in hourly compensation (+3.3%) however, as jobs (-0.6%) and hours worked (-2.3%) both declined.

Since 1999, tourism industries have lost some ground compared to the economy when looking at compensation for all jobs. In 1999, compensation in tourism accounted for 6.2% of compensation for all jobs in Canada. By 2009, this share was down to 5.6%.

In 2000 and 2001 and from 2003 to 2006, the growth rate of compensation in tourism was lower than for the economy, notably lower in 2003 and 2005. Slower growth in 2003 stemmed from the decline in wages in tourism that year. In 2005, slower growth came mainly from the decline in jobs in tourism and also from sluggish growth in wages.

Jobs

Tourism industries in Canada generated a total of 1.6 million jobs in 2009. Jobs include both full-time and part-time jobs, as well as employee jobs and jobs from self-employment. The tourism sector accounted for 9.4% of all jobs in Canada in 2009. In 1999, it accounted for 10.0% of all jobs (see Table 3).

In 2000, jobs in tourism industries started to grow at a slower pace than in the overall economy (see Chart 1). In 2005, jobs in the tourism sector declined 1.7% or 27,000 jobs (mainly in the recreation and entertainment industry group), while they grew 1.6% economy-wide. In 2005, the tourism sector was hit by several one time events: the National Hockey League lockout, the departure of the Montreal Expos, and the spike in the energy prices after the Hurricane Katrina. A major restructuring in the air transportation industries also took place in 2005.

In 2009, jobs in tourism industries declined 0.6%, a smaller decline than for all industries in Canada (-1.7%). A net 10,000 jobs were lost in tourism industries in 2009: 12,000 full-time jobs disappeared but 2,000 part-time jobs were created. Jobs were lost mainly in food and beverage services (-5,000) and other transportation (-3,000).

The global economic slowdown and the H1N1 flu epidemic were the main one time events that affected tourism in Canada in 2009. The new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) travel rules that came into effect June 1, 2009 also played an important role.

Chart 1 Annual rate of job growth in the tourism sector and the total economy, Canada, 1998 to 2009

Description for Chart 1

Annual rate of job growth in the tourism sector and the total economy, Canada, 1998 to 2009

It should be noted that the measure of jobs in the HRM includes all jobs required to produce commodities in tourism industries, whether they are consumed by visitors or by local residents (non-visitors). This exceeds the measure in the Canadian Tourism Satellite Account (CTSA) and the National Tourism Indicators (NTI) of jobs attributed to visitor's consumption (spending or demand), because only a portion of the 1.6 million jobs can be attributed to visitors. Jobs generated by tourism or visitor's consumption in tourism industries totalled 521,000 jobs in 2009.4

In 2009, jobs in tourism generated by visitor's consumption (tourism demand) declined 2.2%. However, jobs in tourism industries generated from both visitor and local resident's consumption were not affected as much (-0.6%) because of sustained local consumption.

Part-time jobs were twice as prevalent in tourism industries (40.2%) compared to all industries in Canada (22.7%). In 2009, four out of ten jobs in the tourism sector were part-time. In 1997, part-time jobs in tourism (38.0%) were less prevalent.

Self-employment was less common in tourism, accounting for 7.0% of tourism jobs in 2009, compared to 9.4% economy-wide. In 1997, self-employment in tourism supported 8.5% of jobs in tourism.

Hours worked per job

The average work week in the tourism sector is shorter than in the rest of the economy, about 10% shorter from 1997 to 2009. In 2009, the work week in tourism was 29.0 hours per week, down 2.3% from the previous year, compared to 32.7 hours in the total economy (see Table 4).

The shorter week in tourism reflects the higher proportion of part-time jobs found in tourism industries than economy-wide and the lower proportion of self-employed in tourism. Jobs from self-employment in tourism involved longer working hours (34.7 hours per week), compared to jobs from self-employment economy-wide (32.8 hours per week).

Compensation per job

Hourly compensation in tourism was $19.59 per hour in 2009, up 3.3% from the previous year (see Table 2), but still much lower than the hourly compensation economy-wide of $29.56.5 In 2003, hourly compensation dropped by $0.30 in tourism (mainly in recreation and entertainment and food and beverage services industries) compared to an increase of $0.69 economy-wide. This deterioration in the relative hourly compensation in tourism had not been recuperated by 2009, even though hourly compensation in tourism had increased.

Tourism industries profiles

The HRM contains aggregated data for five tourism industry groups: transportation (with details for air transportation and other transportation reported separately), accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment and travel services. Appendix E lists the industries included in each industry group of the tourism sector. The following provides selected results intended to give an indication of the kinds of industry analyses possible with the HRM.

Food and beverage services

Among the tourism industry groups, the food and beverage services industry group was the largest employer in 2009. With 853,000 jobs (see Table 3), food and beverage services accounted for 53.0% of all jobs in tourism industries in Canada. This industry has gained slightly in terms of its share of jobs in the sector over the years. In 1997, it held a smaller share, 51.7% of total jobs in the sector. In 2009, this industry group registered a decrease of 4,000 jobs (-0.5%). Full-time jobs were lost, but some part-time jobs were created.

Food and beverage services held the highest share of part-time jobs, almost 50%, among tourism industries in Canada. Not surprisingly, the work week in this industry, at 27.2 hours, was the shortest among all tourism industries and was below the average work week of 32.7 hours economy-wide (see Table 4).

In 2009, the self-employed held 25,000 jobs in food and beverage services, accounting for 22.0% of all self-employed jobs in the tourism sector. They worked the longest hours, 42.9 hours per week, well above the self-employed average of 34.7 hours per week in the tourism sector.

Jobs in food and beverage services continued to pay the least of all tourism industries, with an average hourly compensation of $15.11 in 2009 (see Table 2). Even though this was up (+4.6%) from the previous year, it remained well below the average of $19.59 for tourism industries in Canada.6 However, over the years, hourly compensation in this industry group has improved. In 2009, hourly compensation in food and beverage services was only 22.9% below the tourism sector average, versus 29.9% below in 1997.  

It should be noted that the average hourly wage for all jobs in food and beverage services was $13.96 in 2009 (see Table 5). This is $1.16 less than the average hourly compensation ($15.11), which includes supplementary labour income (employer contributions on behalf of employees to employment insurance, private and public pension plans, worker's compensation, health and life insurance plans and retirement allowances).

Annual compensation combines information about hourly compensation and hours worked. In food and beverage services industries, jobs paid $21,400 on average in 2009 (see Chart 2). This was 27.6% below the tourism sector average of $29,566. Jobs in food and beverage services involved the fewest working hours per week and paid the least on an hourly basis in the tourism sector.

Chart 2 Annual compensation in tourism industries, Canada, 2009

Description for Chart 2

Annual compensation in tourism industries, Canada, 2009

Recreation and entertainment

In 2009, the recreation and entertainment industry group was the second largest employer among the groups included in the HRM, accounting for 274,000 jobs or 17.0% of employment in the sector. This industry posted a small decline in jobs in 2009. However, the industry has gained in terms of its share of sector employment over the years. In 1997, it accounted for 15.5% of all jobs in the sector.

The large proportion (42.3%) of part-time jobs in recreation and entertainment contributed to a short work week. Averaging 28.3 hours, it was among the shortest of all work weeks in tourism industries.

Recreation and entertainment held the largest proportion (18.6%) of self-employed workers with 51,000 jobs. However, they worked shorter hours (27.4 hours per week) than the self-employed in the tourism sector overall (34.7 hours per week).

Hourly compensation in this industry ($22.85) was above the tourism sector average ($19.59), but remained below hourly compensation economy-wide ($29.56). Annual compensation reached $33,631 in 2009, above the tourism sector average, even though the work week was among the shortest in the sector.

Accommodation

Accounting for 222,000 jobs in 2009, or 13.8% of jobs in the tourism sector, accommodation was the third largest employer among tourism industries in Canada. Since 1997, the accommodation industry group has been slowly losing ground relative to other tourism industry groups in terms of its employment share. This industry group held almost the same number of jobs in 2009 as in 1997. In 1997, it held 16.1% of all jobs in the tourism sector, making it the second largest employer in the sector at that time.

Jobs in accommodation industries decreased by 0.2% in 2009. Almost 1,000 full-time jobs were lost, but some part-time jobs were created, which partially explains the shorter work week in 2009. Hours worked per week in accommodation fell to 31.3 hours in 2009, from 32.4 hours in 2008, but remained above the tourism sector average of 29.0 hours per week.

The proportion of part-time jobs (28.9%) in this industry group, while higher than economy-wide in Canada (22.7%), remained below the sector average of 40.2%. The proportion of self-employed in this industry group (4.1%) was among the lowest in the tourism sector, with 9,000 self-employed in 2009. 

Hourly compensation in accommodation, which includes gratuities and supplementary labour income for employees, was up 0.9% in 2009 to reach $19.00, but was still below the tourism sector average of $19.59. Annual compensation in this industry group, at $30,918, was higher than the sector average, mainly because of a longer work week (31.3 hours) compared to the sector (29.0 hours).

Transportation

In 2009, the transportation industry group (which consists of air transportation and other transportation, including rail, water and bus transportation, as well as taxis and car rentals) accounted for 214,000 jobs, or 13.3% of all jobs in tourism in Canada. Jobs in transportation industries were down 1.7% (or -4,000) in 2009 compared to 2008. Both full-time jobs (-3,000) and part-time jobs (-1,000) were lost. The losses were centered mainly in other transportation industries (-3,000).

Jobs in transportation came with a long work week, on average 33.6 hours, almost 5 hours more than the average for tourism jobs in Canada. One reason for the longer hours is the higher proportion of full-time jobs (78.9%), particularly in other transportation industries. Another reason is the relatively high proportion (14.4%) of self-employed in transportation industries, who work longer hours (43.6 hours per week). For the tourism sector as a whole, the self-employed make up only 7.0% of jobs. Transportation supported 24,000 jobs from self- employment, of which, 23,000 were in the other transportation industries.

In addition to a long work week, jobs in transportation were paid more than in other tourism industries, with an hourly compensation of $30.39, $11.31 per hour more than the average across all tourism jobs in Canada ($19.59). Hourly compensation was particularly high in air transportation, at $41.31 per hour.

Transportation is the only industry group in the tourism sector with an annual compensation ($53,117) above the economy-wide average of $50,229. The long work week and the high hourly compensation in both air and other transportation explain this finding.

Travel services

Travel services was the smallest tourism industry group, with 45,000 jobs in 2009, down 2.9% from the previous year. This industry group accounted for only 2.8% of all jobs in tourism in Canada.

Jobs in this industry group were mostly full-time (82%), the highest proportion among all tourism industries. As a result, this industry group had the longest work week, 34.5 hours. There were 4,000 self-employed workers, 7.8% of all jobs in travel services, slightly above the 7.0% share of self-employed for the tourism sector overall.

Hourly compensation in this industry group was above the tourism sector average ($22.77 per hour versus $19.59). Annual compensation was among the highest in the tourism sector, at $40,837, owing to the long work week and high hourly compensation.

Occupations in tourism industries

Five occupation groups dominated the tourism sector, accounting for 48.2% of all employee jobs: food-counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related occupations with 245,000 jobs; food and beverage servers with 191,000 jobs; cooks with 145,000 jobs; restaurant and food service managers with 82,000 jobs; and cashiers with 59,000 jobs.

Furthermore, these occupations were concentrated mainly in one tourism industry group. Of the jobs in the five top occupations, 93% were in the food and beverage services industries.

The most prevalent occupation in the accommodation industries group was light duty cleaner, with 45,000 employee jobs (see Chart 3). Bus drivers and subway and other transit operators was the main occupation group in other transportation industries, with 44,000 jobs, while program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness were the most common occupation in recreation and entertainment, with 34,000 jobs. Travel counsellors accounted for only 21,000 jobs, but represented the primary occupation in travel services (see Chart 3). Airline sales and service agents was the main occupation in air transportation.

When comparing wages, bus drivers and subway and other transit operators ($23.27), airline sales and service agents ($24.08), and travel counsellors ($18.27), earned more than the tourism average of $17.76.7 Bus drivers and subway and other transit operators earned the most, on an annual basis, at $36,734. The most prevalent occupation in the tourism sector, food-counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related occupations, earned the least, with an annual salary of $11,403. Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness earned an annual salary of $13,709.

Chart 3 Main occupation in each tourism industry group, Canada, 2009

Description for Chart 3

Main occupation in each tourism industry group, Canada, 2009

Profile of employees in tourism industries

The HRM provides details concerning three characteristics of employees: gender, age group, and immigrant status. The following highlights some of the HRM results according to these demographics (see Table 5).

Gender

Women in Canada continued to be over-represented in the tourism sector, accounting for 55.4% of employee jobs in 2009. Women held 830,000 employee jobs, 163,000 more than men. A higher proportion of women working in tourism industries were less than 25 years of age (42.0%) compared to men (36.8%).

Women were under-represented in only one industry group, transportation. Only 31.4% of the employee jobs in this industry were held by women. On the other hand, women held the majority of jobs in travel services (73.8%).

In all tourism industries, women had shorter work weeks than their male counterparts. This was especially the case for air transportation (24.9 hours per week for women compared to 36.1 hours for men) and other transportation industries. Women (44.8%) were also more likely than men (34.8%) to work in part-time jobs.

Women working in tourism industries in Canada earned on average $4.51 less than men ($15.55 per hour versus $20.06). There was a noteworthy variation in women's wages, with jobs in air transportation paying the most, $29.37, and jobs in food and beverage services paying the least ($13.01). Even though women in air transportation jobs were well paid, they were still paid $8.93 less than men on average.

The majority of women employed in the tourism sector, worked in food and beverage services industries (60.4%), where wages paid to women were the lowest, $13.01 per hour, and the number of hours worked were among the lowest, 25.0 hours per week. Only 49.0% of men employed in the sector were in this industry. The most common occupation for women was food and beverage servers, while the most common for men was bus drivers and subway and other transit operators, where hourly wages were higher and hours worked per week longer.

On average, women earned an annual salary of $21,295 in the tourism sector compared to $32,777 for men.

Chart 4 Job share by age group in tourism industries in Canada, 2009

Description for Chart 4

Job share by age group in tourism industries in Canada, 2009

Youth and older workers

Youth aged 15 to 24 years were a major source of labour for the tourism industries in Canada in 2009. They held 594,000 employee jobs, accounting for four out of ten employee jobs in tourism. Three out of four young workers were employed in the food and beverage services industries. The most common occupation among youth was food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related occupations.

Older workers, aged 45 years or older, were also an important source of labour for tourism, contributing 411,000 employee jobs (27.4%). In 2009, older workers were employed more evenly across all tourism industries compared to young adults. Two tourism industry groups employed a notably older workforce: older workers accounted for 62.1% of all employees in other transportation industries and 43.6% of all employees in travel services (see Chart 4). The most prevalent occupation among older workers was cook.

Almost seven out of ten young workers were working in part-time jobs in tourism compared to about one out of five older workers. Young adults worked fewer hours per week (18.1 hours) compared to older workers (35.7 hours). This was especially the case in the recreation and entertainment industries (15.1 hours for young adults versus 35.1 hours for older workers). According to the Labour Force Survey,8 in 2009 about 90% of young workers gave attending school as the main reason to be working part-time.

Wages of young workers were also considerably lower. The hourly wage among workers in tourism industries aged 15 to 24 was $11.68 in 2009, almost half that of employees aged 45 and over ($21.76). The wage differential between young and old workers was the most pronounced in the air transportation industry group, $18.36 versus $42.77, respectively. Annually, young workers earned $10,982, almost $30,000 less on average than older workers.

Immigrants

Immigrants are an important source of labour for the tourism sector in Canada. In 2009, immigrants held 333,000 jobs, accounting for 22.2% of employee jobs in tourism. Almost 60% of all immigrants employed in the sector worked in the food and beverage services industry compared to 54.5% of non-immigrants. On the other hand, only 9.0% of all immigrants employed in the sector worked in recreation and entertainment compared to 16.5% of non-immigrants. The concentrations were similar between immigrants and non-immigrants in other tourism industry groups.

Immigrants in tourism industries were older than other tourism workers. About four out of ten immigrants were 45 years or older, while slightly more than two out of ten non-immigrants were older workers.

Compared to non-immigrants (56.9%), immigrants (69.1%) were more likely to work full-time. In 2009, immigrants worked longer hours than their non-immigrant counterparts, 33.2 hours per week versus 27.3 hours.

Immigrants earned lower wages per hour ($16.97 per hour) than non-immigrants ($18.03 per hour). In transportation industries, wages were notably lower for immigrants ($23.73 for immigrants versus $29.77 for non- immigrants). However, when looking at the annual salary, immigrants were paid more than non-immigrants in all tourism industries (with the exception of transportation) with an average salary of $29,337 versus $25,572 for non- immigrants. Even though immigrants earned lower wages per hour on average, they compensated by working longer hours.

 


Notes:

  1. See Statistics Canada 2010a.
  2. Data adjusted to exclude tourism commodities produced in non-tourism industries. For more details see Statistics Canada 2010b.
  3. Compensation is defined as wages and salaries, supplementary labour income and the labour portion of income after expenses accruing to the self-employed.
  4. See Statistics Canada 2010b.
  5. It should be noted that assumptions used to estimate labour compensation in tourism are not exactly the same as the ones used for total economy, as previously explained.
  6. Gratuities are included in these figures. See Appendix C to understand how gratuities are calculated.
  7. In 2009, the average wage for the tourism sector was $17.76 per hour while the average compensation for the tourism sector was  $19.59 per hour.
  8. For more information on part-time work, see Marshall 2000.
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