Rogue Valley 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 motel stay more comfortable. The Rogue Valley hospitality industry is a big employer and has been among the fastest growing sectors for years.

During the summer of 2017, the industry provided around 11,700 jobs in Jackson County and 3,580 in Josephine County, accounting for almost 14 percent of total nonfarm employment. Nine out of 10 Rogue Valley leisure and hospitality jobs are in accommodation and food services. Apart from the jobs in hotels and restaurants, the industry offers a great variety of employment opportunities – from museum attendants to river tour guides, to workers in recreation facilities such as golf courses, and more.

Food Services Provide the Bulk of Jobs

Jobs related to food services – such as restaurants, fast food eateries, and bars – make up the bulk of leisure and hospitality employment in the Rogue Valley. Waiters, waitresses, and bartenders may be the face of the food service industry but there are many other workers 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 – tips are common, adding to the base pay. The average pay for line staff is around $13 dollars per hour, but restaurant chefs, supervisors and managers can earn $15 to $20 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 at around $12 per hour. Hotel managers can earn higher wages depending on the size and type of accommodation.

Educational Requirements Minimal

Most jobs in the hospitality industry require only a high school education and can become that valuable first job for youth and students. In addition, some workers, for various reasons, prefer seasonal or part-time employment, which is prevalent in the industry. For those interested in the hospitality 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 with a passion for hospitality and an entrepreneurial streak 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 future restaurateurs and hoteliers in training.

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