Klamath and Lake Leisure and Hospitality – Many Different Jobs in the Spirit of Service

by Ainoura Oussenbec

February 7, 2018

The leisure and hospitality industry is all about service and people. Robots have yet to conquer the art of cooking and serving delicious food or making your stay at a motel comfortable. The hospitality industry is big and fast-growing in Oregon, but this may not be the case in every Oregon County.

During the summer of 2017, the industry provided about 2,800 jobs (12 percent of total employment) in Klamath County and close to 170 jobs in Lake County (7 percent of all jobs). Klamath County employment in leisure and hospitality has grown steadily in recent years, while the industry declined in Lake County over the long term. Still, the hospitality industry is, in a way, the face of the community and it takes certain kinds of workers to make it successful.

Food Services Provide the Bulk of Jobs

Jobs related to food service, restaurants, fast food eateries, and bars make up the bulk of leisure and hospitality employment. Waiters, waitresses, and bartenders are on the front line of the food service industry but many other employees work hard behind the scenes, such as cooks, food preparation workers, and dishwashers. The industry remains labor intensive with most of the jobs starting at or close to minimum wage. Some workers – for instance, waiting staff – may receive tips in addition to the base pay. The average pay for line staff is around $11 dollars per hour, but restaurant supervisors and managers can earn $13 per hour or more.

Accommodation employment comprises a much smaller part of hospitality industry with maids, housekeepers, and hotel clerks being the key jobs in the industry. The wages for those jobs also start at or close to minimum wage and average about $11 per hour. Hotel managers can earn higher wages depending on the size and type of accommodation.

Educational Requirements Minimal

Most jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry require only a high school education and can become that valuable first job for youth and students. In addition, some workers prefer seasonal or part-time employment, which is prevalent in the industry, for a variety of reasons. For those interested in the industry for the long term, one natural career path would be working one's way up from regular staff to management positions. The biggest attraction for those entrepreneurial types with a passion for hospitality may be an opportunity to own a restaurant or a motel down the road. Therefore, the mundane process of washing dishes or cleaning hotel rooms can become part of the required curriculum for tomorrow's restaurateurs and hoteliers in training.

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