1. Main points

  • Employment in UK tourism industries increased between 2009 and 2014, from 2.66 million to 2.97 million

  • The largest contributor to this increase is the number of main and second jobs in food and beverage serving activities, which has increased by approximately 170,000 jobs

  • Almost 50% of workers in culture, sports, recreation or conference activities work either a Saturday, Sunday or both

  • Only 5.04% of tourism workers are casual employees; 89.57% of tourism workers are permanent; 5.39% of tourism workers are in other forms of temporary employment

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2. Introduction

This article analyses a range of data related to the "supply side" of tourism, in other words the industries and services that provide goods and services to tourists. These "tourism characteristic industries" are analysed here in terms of the changes in tourism employment, the regional distribution of tourism employment and the characteristics of those employed in the tourism sector.

The data in this article comes from the Annual Population Survey, 2008 to 2014 (ONS).

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4. Age and sex of tourism workers

Figure 3 shows the distribution of ages of workers in both tourism and non-tourism industries in 2014. The chart shows that the profile of tourism workers is generally younger, with 26.40% of tourism workers being between the ages of 16 and 24, compared with only 10.50% in non-tourism industries.

Figure 4 shows the distribution of tourism workers by both age bands and sex. It can be seen that the distribution of workers is fairly even through the age groups, although there is a higher percentage of females between 16 and 24 than is the case for males (29.30%, compared with 23.70%).

Figure 5 shows the percentage of tourism workers by age, this time split into 4 age bands, by region of the UK. The percentage of workers in each age group is mostly consistent, with a high proportion of workers being 16 to 29 years old, with the exception of London. London has a higher percentage of workers age 30 to 44 with a slightly lower percentage of other age groups.

Figure 6 shows the age of tourism workers across the 4 sectors of main tourism employment. There is a high proportion of 16 to 29 year olds working in food and beverage serving activities, more than 50% (this figure was adjusted 4 February 2016, 14:00), whereas in the transport industries there is only a small percentage of 16 to 29 year olds. The accommodation for visitors industry has a higher proportion of workers aged 60 and over.

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5. Geography of tourism employment

Figure 7 shows the "top 10" regions where employment in tourism characteristic industries is more than 13.50% of all employment. The region of Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, Arran and Cumbrae, and Argyll and Bute has the highest percentage of main and second jobs in tourism characteristic industries, with 17.29%.

Figure 8 shows the "top 10" regions where employment in accommodation and food and beverage serving activities is more than 8.40% of all employment. The region of Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, Arran and Cumbrae, and Argyll and Bute has the highest percentage of main and second jobs in accommodation and food and beverage serving activities, with 12.87%.

Figure 9 shows the "top 10" regions where employment in "other" tourism characteristic industries (this includes culture, sport and recreation activities and passenger transport, travel agencies, car hire, and conference activities) is more than 5.50% of all employment. Outer London (West and North West) has the highest percentage of main and second jobs in other tourism characteristic industries, with 7.69%, reflecting the focus on passenger transport as this is the location of Heathrow Airport.

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6. Highest qualifications of tourism workers

Figure 10 shows the highest qualification level achieved for tourism workers in comparison with workers in other industries. It can be seen that 30% of tourism workers have achieved a qualification level of degree, higher education or equivalents, whereas 42.90% of workers in other industries have a qualification of that level. The majority of tourism workers have a qualification level above GCSE grades A*-C (or equivalent), although it falls below the percentage of non-tourism workers with a similar level of qualification (78.90% to 85.60%).

Figure 11 compares the highest qualification level of tourism workers in the 12 different regions of the UK. It can be seen that London has a much higher percentage of workers with a degree or equivalent level qualification in tourism industries in comparison with the other UK regions. More deprived regions of the UK, for example, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland, have a higher percentage of tourism workers with no qualification (11.30 and 16.50% respectively).

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7. Working patterns of tourism workers

It can be seen from Figure 12 that all tourism industries have a higher than average proportion of employees working on either a Saturday, a Sunday or both. Compared with the other tourism industries, food and beverage serving activities has a lower percentage, almost by 10%, of workers working at the weekend. However, this is more likely to be a reflection on the size of the food and beverage industry and the volume of employees that could be available to work on a weekend. The other industry to highlight is the culture, sports, recreation and conference activities industry, which has almost half of its employees working some part of the weekend (49.50%).

There are approximately 1.74 million (58.90%) full-time workers in tourism related industries and 1.22 million (41.10%) part-time workers in the tourism industry.

The reasons behind part-time work in tourism industries are further explored in Figure 13.

Figure 13 shows the percentage breakdown of tourism workers employed on a part-time basis based on the reasons for part-time work. This highlights that the highest proportion of part-time workers in tourism characteristic industries, 46.40%, specified that they did not want a full-time job, compared with more than 70% of workers in non-tourism characteristic industries. A significant proportion of tourism characteristic industry employees, 20.80%, specified that they could not find a full-time job, whilst 30.20% stated they were students.

10.43% of jobs in the tourism industry are temporary, compared with only 6.12% of temporary jobs in non-tourism industries. The tourism industries account for 14.43% of all temporary employment in the UK.

Figure 14 charts the reasons why tourism employees are in temporary employment. Temporary tourism employment in tourism characteristic industries is largely made up of casual workers. This means that almost 50% of temporary employees in tourism are not guaranteed future hours, holiday or sick pay and have no set number of hours per week. It should be noted however, that temporary employment represents 10.43% of tourism employment, meaning 5.04% of tourism workers are in this position.

Since 2011, there has been a decrease in the percentage of seasonal temporary workers. However, these employees could also be considered “casual” which may explain the sharp increase of casual workers between 2011 and 2014. A striking difference between the different types of temporary employment between tourism and non-tourism characteristic industries is the large proportion of fixed contracts in non-tourism characteristic industries, compared with the large amount of casual workers in the tourism industry.

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8 .Annex A

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9 .Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk
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Contact details for this Article

Sean White
sean.white@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455687