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Washington, D.C. (January 14, 2016) – A new report released today by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)— the sole national association representing all segments of the nearly 2 million-employee U.S. lodging industry— and WageWatch—an industry compensation leader—shows that jobs in the hotel industry lead quickly to upper management positions, providing long-term careers with high job satisfaction levels.

The report highlights the success stories of the hotel industry’s employees, who experience significant opportunities for upward mobility and promotions.  Throughout the hotel industry, general managers, senior executives and even many CEOs begin their employment in hourly, entry-level hotel jobs. According to the report, half or more of corporate executives began their hotel career in hourly entry-level positions and more than half of hotel general managers did the same. As the hotel industry continues to see dynamic expansion, so does the recruitment of today’s entry-level employees and tomorrow’s leaders.

“Hotel employees are the heart of the lodging industry. We would be nothing without the millions of people who ensure its success each and every day,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA. “This report validates the great success story of our industry, one that sees countless general managers and leaders of our industry who started out in entry level positions.”

Further, the report shows the hotel industry provides long-term jobs with high employee satisfaction rates and low turnover.

Moving Up the Ranks:

  • More than half of department managers started in hourly entry-level positions.
  • Almost all of the survey respondents reported that at least some of their general managers started their careers in hourly hotel line positions.
  • The majority of minimum wage employees are eligible for promotion after only one year of employment, serving as a gateway for new workers to enter the lodging industry.

Job Satisfaction:

  • 90% of respondents said that salaried employees stayed with their company for an average of five years or more.
  • 75% of respondents reported that hourly employees stay with the company more than five years on average.

“It is a great time to be in the hotel business.  The industry experienced a record breaking year in 2015, with more beds filled and more jobs created than ever before.  We are an industry that prides itself on fostering the track to upward mobility for its employees – offering the resources and training necessary to advance up from hourly positions to management positions and ensuring that we provide good benefits,” added Lugar. “With travel expected to increase this year and forecasts for the hotel business strong, we are not surprised to see more hotels ready and able to hire more employees.”


The study was conducted by WageWatch, on behalf AH&LA, from January 19, 2015 to August 31, 2015.  Survey participants included 400,000 full-time and part-time employees, representing 21% of the lodging industry labor force and 10,300 hotels across the country.

About AH&LA

Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.9 million-employee U.S. lodging industry, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry of more than 53,000 properties generating $176 billion in annual sales from 5 million guestrooms.

Contact: Matt Sutton / 212.255.8478

About WageWatch

For over a decade, industry associations, trade groups and employers have recognized WageWatch, Inc. as a leader in providing detailed, accurate Web-based compensation surveys reports. WageWatch conducts compensation and benefits surveys for a number of industries including lodging, healthcare, gaming, non-profit, and universities. Our PeerMark™ compensation survey enables subscribers to retrieve detailed industry and geo/market specific compensation reports that are customized to each company’s needs.

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