Income and Expenditure Accounts Technical Series

    Human Resource Module of the Tourism Satellite Account, 2011


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    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 2011 and on comparisons with preceding years. A brief description of the general economic conditions prevailing in Canada and in the tourism sector in 2011 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) at market prices advanced 2.5% in 2011. Personal expenditures on consumer goods and services increased 2.2%, driven by spending on services.

    Tourism spending in tourism industries continued to increase (+3.6%) in real terms in 2011, following an increase of 3.9% in 2010.

    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

    Compensation1 reached $49.5 billion in 2011 for tourism industries, up 4.1% from the previous year, compared to a 4.5% growth of compensation for the total economy (see Table 2). This growth was due to increases in hourly compensation (+2.7%) and in the number of jobs (+1.9%). The number of hours worked per week declined by 0.5%.

    In 2011, compensation in tourism accounted for 5.4% of compensation for all jobs, a ratio which has remained largely stable since 2005.


    In 2011, tourism industries accounted for 1.7 million jobs. Jobs include both full- 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 2011.

    The number of jobs in tourism industries grew at a faster pace (+1.9%) than jobs in the total economy (+1.6%) in 2011, whereas in 2010, growth in tourism jobs trailed the total economy (1.5% compared to 1.8%).

    On average, job growth for the total economy surpassed job growth in tourism industries by 0.8 percentage points per year over the period 2003 to 2011. Notably, the economic downturn of 2009 had a greater impact on the tourism industries (2.8% fewer jobs) compared to the total economy (-1.7%). 

    In 2011, more new full-time jobs (+16,000) were generated in the tourism sector than part-time jobs (+14,000).

    Chart 1 Annual rate of job growth in tourism industries and total economy, Canada, 2005 to 2011
    Description for Chart 1
    Chart 1 Annual rate of job growth in tourism industries  and total economy, Canada, 2005 to 2011

    It should be noted that the estimate of jobs in tourism industries is greater in the HRM than in the CTSA and the NTI. The HRM concept includes all jobs in tourism industries (1.7 million), whereas the NTI and CTSA concept includes only 'tourism jobs' (that is, jobs attributable to visitor consumption).2

    Jobs attributable to visitor consumption in tourism industries totalled 488,000 in 2011, up 1.3% from the previous year.3 The growth rate for all jobs in tourism industries was higher (+1.9%), indicating higher growth in local consumption.

    Part-time jobs made up 40.4% of all jobs in tourism industries (671,000 jobs). By comparison, part-time jobs made up 22.8% of all jobs in Canada. The share of part-time employment in the tourism sector has been trending upwards since 2007.

    Self-employment was less common in tourism, accounting for 6.5% of jobs in 2011, compared to 9.1% economy-wide. The number of self-employed in tourism fell by 5.5% when compared to the previous year, due to fewer self-employed jobs in the accommodation (-1,389 jobs) and food and beverage services (-5,046) industries.

    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 2011. Jobs in tourism averaged 28.8 hours per week in 2011, down 0.5% from the previous year, compared to 32.7 hours for jobs economy-wide (see Table 4). The shorter week in tourism reflects the higher proportion of part-time jobs found in tourism industries than in the total economy.

    On the other hand, jobs from self-employment in tourism involved longer working hours (33.3 hours per week) than jobs from self-employment economy-wide (31.8 hours per week).

    Compensation per job

    Hourly compensation in tourism averaged $19.90 per hour in 2011, up 2.7% from the previous year (see Table 2), but still much lower than the hourly compensation economy-wide of $30.83.4 The gap between hourly compensation in tourism industries versus the total economy has widened from $5.76 in 1997 to $10.93 in 2011.   

    In 2011, hourly compensation for full-time workers was $21.12, while part-time workers received $15.52. However, hourly compensation for part-time workers increased at a faster pace than that of full-time workers (3.5% compared to 2.5%).

    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 2011. This industry group accounted for 53.8% of all jobs in tourism industries in Canada with 893,000 jobs (see Table 3). In 2011, the number of jobs in food and beverage services increased by 17,000 jobs, of which some 13,000 were full-time jobs.

    Food and beverage services held the highest share of part-time jobs (48.5%) among tourism industries. Not surprisingly, the work week in this industry, at 26.8 hours, was the shortest among all tourism industries and was well below the average work week of 32.7 hours economy-wide (see Table 4).

    In 2011, the self-employed held 21,436 jobs in food and beverage services, accounting for 20.0% of all self-employed jobs in the tourism sector. They worked long hours, 39.8 hours per week on average, well above the self-employed average of 33.3 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 $15.335 in 2011 (see Table 2). Even though this was up 2.5% from the previous year, it remained well below the average of $19.90 for tourism industries.6

    It should be noted that the average hourly wage for all employee jobs in food and beverage services was $13.98 in 2011 (see Table 5). This is $1.35 less than the average hourly compensation ($15.33), 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 $21,351 on average in 2011 (see Chart 2). This was well below the tourism sector average of $29,797. Jobs in food and beverage services involved the fewest working hours per week and were paid the least on an hourly basis in the tourism sector.

    Chart 2 Annual compensation in tourism industries in Canada, 2011
    Description for Chart 2
    Chart 2 Annual  compensation in tourism industries in Canada, 2011

    Recreation and entertainment

    The recreation and entertainment industry group was the second largest employer among the tourism industries, providing 277,000 jobs or 16.7% of employment in the sector. This industry group registered job gains of 1.4% in 2011.

    The large proportion (43.7%) of part-time jobs in recreation and entertainment contributed to a short work week. Averaging 28.2 hours, it was the second-shortest among tourism industries.

    Recreation and entertainment held the largest proportion (46.6%) of the self-employed jobs in tourism industries, with 49,978 jobs. However, these jobs involved shorter hours (26.7 hours per week) than self-employed jobs in the tourism sector overall (33.3 hours per week).

    Hourly compensation in this industry ($24.53) was above the tourism sector average ($19.90), but remained below hourly compensation economy-wide ($30.83). Annual compensation reached $35,955 in 2011, above the tourism sector average, even though the work week was among the shortest in the sector.


    The accommodation industry provided 229,000 jobs in 2011, or 13.8% of jobs in the tourism sector, making it the third-largest employer among tourism industries in Canada. The accommodation industry group registered its third consecutive annual increase in employment, with growth of 1.7% in 2011.  

    Most of the increase was in part-time positions, as the industry gained 3,424 part-time jobs and 317 full-time jobs. Hours worked per week in accommodation remained at 31.5 hours in 2011, which was above the tourism sector average of 28.8 hours per week.

    The proportion of part-time jobs (27.7%) in this industry group, while higher than economy-wide (22.8%), remained below the sector average of 40.4%. This industry's share of self-employed jobs in the tourism sector (6.9%) was among the lowest, with 7,390 self-employed in 2011, a decline of 15.8% from the previous year.

    Hourly compensation in accommodation, which includes gratuities, was up 1.7% in 2011 to reach $19.77, but was still below the tourism sector average of $19.90. Annual compensation in this industry group, at $32,368, was higher than the sector average, largely due to the longer work week compared to the sector.


    The transportation industry group consists of air transportation and other transportation, including rail, water and bus transportation, as well as taxis and car rentals. This industry group provided 217,000 jobs, or 13.1% of all jobs in tourism. Jobs in transportation industries were up 2.4% in 2011. Air transportation added one thousand jobs while other transportation industries added three thousand.  Almost all jobs added in air transportation were part-time jobs, whereas almost all jobs added in other transportation industries were full-time jobs.

    Jobs in transportation came with a long work week: on average 33.9 hours, five hours longer than the average for tourism jobs. One reason for the longer hours was the higher proportion of full-time jobs (78.5%), particularly in other transportation industries. Another reason was the relatively high proportion (11.4%) of self-employed workers in transportation industries, who worked longer hours. For the tourism sector as a whole, the self-employed made up only 6.5% of jobs. Transportation supported 24,765 jobs from self-employment, 23.1% of all jobs from self-employment in the sector, of which almost all were in the other transportation industries.

    In addition to the second-longest work week, jobs in transportation were paid more than in other tourism industries, with an hourly compensation of $29.21, $9.31 more per hour than the average across all tourism jobs. Hourly compensation was particularly high in air transportation, at $39.93 per hour.

    Transportation was the only industry group in the tourism sector with an annual compensation ($51,540) approaching the national average of $52,401. The long work week and the high hourly compensation in both air and other transportation contributed.

    Travel services

    The travel services industry group is the smallest among all tourism industries. Travel services provided 45,000 jobs in 2011, just 2.7% of all jobs in tourism in Canada. However, it led the sector in terms of job gains (+2.9%) in 2011.

    Jobs in this industry group were predominantly full-time (84.5%), the highest proportion among all tourism industries. Not surprisingly, this industry group had the longest work week, at 34.4 hours. Three thousand seven hundred workers were self-employed, 8.2% of all jobs in travel services.

    Annual compensation was among the highest in the tourism sector, at $41,806, owing to the high proportion of full-time jobs and the above-average hourly compensation.

    Occupations in tourism industries

    Five occupation groups dominated the tourism sector in terms of employee jobs: food-counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related occupations with 266,000 jobs, of which almost all (249,000) were in the food and beverage services industry group; food and beverage servers with 196,000 jobs; cooks with 142,000 jobs; restaurant and food service managers with 78,000 jobs; and cashiers with 67,000 jobs. Furthermore, these same five occupations also dominated the food and beverage services industry.

    The most prevalent occupation in air transportation was airline sales and service agents, with 11,000 jobs (see Chart 3). Bus drivers and subway and other transit operators were the main occupation group in other transportation industries, with 50,000 jobs. The main occupation in the accommodation industry group was light duty cleaners, with 44,000 employee jobs, while program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness were the most common occupation in recreation and entertainment, with 36,000 jobs. Travel counsellors accounted for only 19,000 jobs, but represented the primary occupation in travel services.

    When comparing wages for the most prevalent occupations by tourism industry, airline sales and service agents ($25.14), bus drivers and subway and other transit operators ($22.00), program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness ($19.20), and travel counsellors ($18.20) earned more than the tourism sector average wage of $17.81. On the other hand, light duty cleaners ($14.48) and food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related occupations ($12.06) earned less than the tourism sector average.

    Chart 3 Main occupation in each tourism industry group in Canada, 2011
    Description for Chart 3
    Chart 3 Main occupation in each tourism  industry group in Canada, 2011

    Profile of employees in tourism industries

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


    Women working in the tourism sector accounted for 54.9% of employee jobs in 2011. This share has declined from 56.1% in 2005. 

    Women held 852 thousand employee jobs in the tourism sector in 2011, 151 thousand more than men. A higher proportion of women working in tourism industries were less than 25 years of age (40.3%) compared to men (35.5%).

    Women were outnumbered by men in one industry group, transportation. Only 29.2% of the employee jobs in this industry were held by women. On the other hand, women held the majority of jobs in travel services (73.2%).

    In all tourism industries, women had shorter work weeks than their male counterparts. This was especially the case for air transportation (26.8 hours per week for women compared to 36.1 hours for men) and other transportation industries. Women (45.2%) were also more likely than men (35.0%) to work in part-time jobs.

    Women working in tourism industries in Canada earned on average $4.24 per hour less than men ($15.71 per hour versus $19.95). There was a noteworthy variation in women's wages, with jobs in air transportation paying the most, $28.81, and jobs in food and beverage services paying the least ($13.23). Even though women in air transportation jobs were well-paid, they were still paid $7.42 less than men on average.

    The majority of women employed in the tourism sector worked in food and beverage services industries (61.2%), where wages paid to women were the lowest, $13.23 per hour, and the number of hours worked were the lowest, 24.7 hours per week. By comparison, 50.1% of men employed in the sector were in this industry.

    The most common occupation was the same for women as for men, namely, food and counter attendants and kitchen helpers and related occupations. However, this occupation accounted for a greater share of female employee jobs (18.8%) than of male employee jobs (15.1%).

    In 2011, women earned an average annual salary of $21,383 in the tourism sector compared to $32,465 for men. This difference stemmed from the lower hourly wages for women and the shorter work week.

    Youth and older workers

    Youth aged 15 to 24 years were a major source of labour for the tourism industries in Canada in 2011. They held 592,000 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, and two of every three such jobs were held by a young worker.

    Chart 4 Job share by age group in tourism industries in Canada, 2011
    Description for Chart 4
    Chart 4 Job  share by age group in tourism industries in Canada, 2011

    Older workers, aged 45 years and over, were also an important source of labour for tourism, holding 446,000 employee jobs (28.7%). In 2011, older workers were employed more evenly across all tourism industries compared to young adults. One tourism industry group employed a notably older workforce: older workers accounted for 63.3% of all employee jobs in other transportation industries. By comparison, the next oldest workforce was that of air transportation, with 45.5% of all employee jobs held by persons aged 45 years or older (see Chart 4).

    Almost seven out of ten young workers in tourism held part-time jobs compared to about one out of four older workers. The vast majority of young adults who worked part-time were employed in the food and beverage services industry. Young adults worked less than half the hours per week (17.3 hours) of older workers (35.3 hours). This was especially the case in the recreation and entertainment industries (15.0 hours for young adults versus 34.6 hours for older workers).7

    Wages of young workers were also considerably lower. The hourly wage among workers in tourism industries aged 15 to 24 was $11.91 in 2011, over half that of employees aged 45 and over ($21.83). The wage differential between young and old workers was the most pronounced in the air transportation industry group, $17.04 versus $40.86, respectively.


    Immigrants were another important source of labour for the tourism sector. In 2011, immigrants held 357 thousand jobs, accounting for 23.0% of employee jobs in tourism. Over sixty percent of all immigrants employed in the sector worked in the food and beverage services industry, compared to 54.8% of non-immigrants. On the other hand, only 9.0% of all immigrants employed in the sector worked in recreation and entertainment compared to 16.3% 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 one out of four non-immigrants was an older worker.

    Compared to non-immigrants (56.9%), immigrants (68.3%) were more likely to work full-time. In 2011, immigrants worked longer hours than their non-immigrant counterparts, 32.9 hours per week versus 27.2 hours.

    Immigrants earned lower wages per hour ($16.77 per hour) than non-immigrants ($18.19 per hour). With the exception of accommodation ($20.42 for immigrants versus $16.87 for non-immigrants), wages for immigrants were lower in each industry.

    On an annual basis, however, immigrants earned more on average in all tourism industries (excepting transportation). Annual salaries for immigrants averaged $28,662, compared to $25,706 for non-immigrants. Even though immigrants earned lower wages per hour on average, they compensated by working longer hours.

    Data tables


    1. Compensation is defined as wages and salaries, supplementary labour income and the labour portion of income after expenses accruing to the self-employed.
    2. For example, the HRM measures all jobs in full-service restaurants, whereas the NTI measure only the portion of these jobs generated by the spending of visitors. For more information, see Appendix B: Concepts and definitions.
    3. See Statistics Canada 2012a.
    4. It should be noted that assumptions used to estimate labour compensation in tourism are not exactly the same as the ones used for the total economy, as explained in Appendix D.
    5. This statistic is based on compensation in employee jobs and jobs from self-employment.
    6. Gratuities are included in these figures. See Appendix C to understand how gratuities are calculated.
    7. According to the Labour Force Survey, in 2011 about 71% of young workers gave attending school as their main reason to be working part-time. Source: Statistics Canada. Table 282-0014 – Labour force survey estimates (LFS), part-time employment by reason for part-time work, sex and age group, annual (persons), CANSIM.
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