The Future Tourism Labour Force: Latest Census Analysis Available

Released today, the latest demographic profile of tourism workers unveils the most recent census data on youth employed in tourism.

Aged between 15 and 24 years old, people in this age group are a key demographic for tourism and hospitality jobs. While they made up only 12.1% of the Canadian population in 2016 and filled only 12.7% of all jobs, they held a significant 30.7% of the jobs in the tourism sector. Provincially/territorially, they make up over 30.0% of the tourism workforce in eight regions, topping out in Prince Edward Island at 35.0%.

Some occupations are particularly reliant on this age bracket, especially those in food and beverage services and recreation and entertainment. As a share of all people employed, youth fill:

  • 82.9% of all host/hostess jobs
  • 65.7% of cashier jobs
  • 62.4% of all food counter attendant/kitchen helper jobs
  • 56.9% of operators and attendants in amusement, recreation, and sport
  • 49.2% of program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport, and fitness
  • 42.5% of food and beverage servers

Tourism’s relationship with young people is mutually beneficial. The tourism sector acts as a gateway to employment for many Canadians, offering them their first job—often one that accommodates their need for part-time work with a flexible schedule. With 69.3% of youth reporting having attended school in the previous nine months, this an important consideration when planning attraction efforts.

However, growing the tourism sector has been difficult due to labour shortages. A declining share of youth within Canada’s population has been part of this problem. The number of people aged 15 to 24 has been declining in Canada since 2013 and will continue to do so until 2021. The total number of 15- to 24-year-olds in the population is not expected to exceed the number seen in 2013 until 2029.

Nonetheless, the number of youth employed in tourism grew from 2011 to 2016, suggesting that tourism employers have become more competitive in attracting this group of workers. Still, declining numbers of such an important group of employees is problematic and, for the near future, employers will need to find other sources of labour if they are to expand their businesses.

Click here to download the Demographic Profile of Young Tourism Workers.

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