PayScale Releases Sixth Annual Year-End Tipping Study

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Annual Study Highlights That While Economic Recovery Remains Uncertain, Workers’ Tips Have Increased Significantly

PayScale, Inc., the world's largest real-time salary data provider, today announced its sixth annual year-end tipping study.

While the economic recovery remains volatile and uncertain and unemployment is still stubbornly high, the PayScale tipping study shows that tip earnings have increased 4 percent over 2010 levels overall and increased by as much as 50 percent for certain jobs.

“Wages in service heavy industries, such as restaurants, hotels and casinos, suffered heavily in The Great Recession and remain below their pre-recession levels,” said Katie Bardaro, Lead Research Analyst at PayScale. “However, there are some signs of a recovery as tips in these industries rose over the last year. Once again people have room in their budgets to eat out, travel and gamble and to reward the workers who help them have fun with higher tips. ”

Some highlights from the study include:

1. Range in tips across the jobs is fairly wide: Gaming dealers report the largest tips with $12.40/hour, while swimming pool & spa technicians report the lowest tips at $0.20/hour.

2. Median hourly tips fell by a significant amount for hunting and fishing guides and automobile detailers: Median hourly tips fell 40 percent for hunting and fishing guides and by 37 percent for automobile detailers. Although tips for these two jobs are down, it doesn’t sting as bad since tips account for less than 14 percent of a hunting and fishing guide’s total pay and less than 10 percent of an automobile detailer’s pay.

3. Median hourly tips rose for night club general managers and food and beverage managers: Median hourly tips reported for night club general managers increased 58 percent over last year making them one of the top jobs for tip increases. Last year, night club general managers experienced one of the sharper decreases in tips on the list (near 40 percent). The increase this year brings them back up to 2009 levels. Food and beverage managers also saw a significant rise in hourly tips (a 50 percent increase from last year). However only ~18 percent of their total hourly income is from tips while 25 percent of a night club general manager’s income comes from tips.

4. Twenty nine jobs on the list have less than 10 percent of their income coming from tips: The lowest are swimming pool and spa technician (1 percent), steam cleaner, home appliance repairer, gas station attendant and line service technician (all less than 5 percent).

5. Many tipped jobs are individual contributor positions in the hotel and restaurant industries: In the hotel industry, hotel housekeepers earn the lowest median hourly tips ($0.60/hour), while hotel floor managers earn the highest ($5.20/hour). In the restaurant industry, fast food workers are on the bottom, earning the lowest median hourly tips ($0.50/hour) and the lowest typical total hourly income ($8.60/hour).

6. Nineteen management jobs make the list: Of these jobs, bar managers, hotel floor managers and casino shift managers have the largest percentage of their income coming from tips: 40 percent, 30 percent, and 28 percent, respectively.

7. Traveling for the holidays? Make sure to tip your chauffeur, van driver or taxi driver. Van drivers earn at least 12 percent of their total income from tips while chauffeurs and taxi drivers earn at least 23 percent of their incomes from tips. If you plan on taking a tour while on vacation, don’t forget to tip your tour guide; their median hourly tips make up about 25 percent of their total income.

8. Concerned about your looks? There are many people who can help you look great and are often tipped. These include makeup artists, tattoo artists, barbers, hairdressers, estheticians, nail technicians, and cosmetologists. For all beauty positions, tips make up to a quarter of their total income.

9. Throwing a holiday party? For entertainment you might want to hire a DJ or musician/singer, but don’t forget to tip them for a job well done. Bringing in a catering company? You will need to tip both the catering manager as well as the food servers. For some of those big parties you may choose to hire a parking attendant. Make sure the party-goers tip them as over 30 percent of their incomes can come from tips.

The comprehensive PayScale tipping study provides data that includes: Typical hours (full-time, part-time, and limited time); median hourly tips; median base hourly pay; total typical hourly income; percent of total hourly income from tips; and the frequency of workers reporting being tipped.

About PayScale is the leading online provider of employee compensation data. With the world's largest database of individual compensation profiles, PayScale provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers. PayScale's patent-pending, real-time profiling technology collects and indexes employee pay attributes worldwide and makes this compensation data available through its online salary tools and salary benchmarking reports. PayScale was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Seattle.

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