Research and White Papers

Travel Leads to Successful Careers for Many

By Andrea Doyle
December 4, 2012

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The travel industry supports 14.4 million American jobs and serves as a gateway to a promising career and opportunity to join America's middle class, according to first-of-its-kind survey.
Workers who begin their careers in travel achieve higher wages, have greater access to educational opportunities, and enjoy better career progression, according to a first-of-its-kind study released today by the U.S. Travel Association. The study consists of more than 30 years of longitudinal data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analyzed by Oxford Economics and the U.S.Travel Association.
"The data is conclusive: workers whose first job is in the travel industry progress further in their careers than individuals who get their start in other industries, and travel industry work experience helps Americans earn higher wages and attain an education," says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Travel jobs provide important, transferable skills that are indispensable to career success, and careers in travel deliver financial security with the majority of travel industry workers earning a middle-class income or higher."
Titled "Fast Forward: Travel Creates Opportunities and Launches Careers," the report presents case studies and summarizes BLS labor force data on how travel jobs benefit workers and how careers in the industry progress over time compared to workers who began in other industries. (BLS has tracked more than 5,000 workers, interviewing them every year between 1979 and 1994, and every two years between 1994 and 2010.) 

Findings of the study include the fact that those who start their career in the travel industry reach salaries of $81,900, significantly more than other industries. One-third of the 5.6 million Americans who are employed part time to support themselves while they further their education work in the travel industry. Among workers who began their careers in the travel industry, 33 percent earned at least a bachelor's degree. The travel industry is one of the top 10 largest employers of middle-class wage earners in the U.S. More than half of all travel industry employees (53 percent) earn a middle-class salary or higher. Employees who work in travel jobs build valuable skills that can translate into rewarding careers, both in travel and other industries. Two out of five workers who start their careers in the travel industry go on to earn more than $100,000 per year.
"In recent years, the travel industry has quietly emerged as one of America's leading drivers of growth and job creation," says David Huether (pictured), senior vice president for research and economics, U.S. Travel. "Every dollar spent on travel has a ripple effect benefitting other sectors of the economy. In fact, the travel industry injects $1.9 trillion into the U.S. economy and supports 14.4 million jobs."
The full report is available at  
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