PayScale Releases Fifth Annual Year-End Tipping Study

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Annual Study Highlights That Economic Recovery Has Not Arrived As Workers' Tip Earnings Stay Flat

One of the few jobs where the PayScale tipping study showed significant tip increases was butlers, who predominantly work in New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles

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

As unemployment remains high and the economic recovery has yet to take on momentum, the PayScale study shows that tip earnings have stayed flat in 2010 after a significant drop across the board in 2009. When inflation is factored into these jobs where tips are crucial, these workers find it hard to make the break-even mark.

"One of the few jobs where the PayScale tipping study showed significant tip increases was butlers, who predominantly work in New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles," said Dr. Al Lee, Director of Quantitative Analysis at PayScale. "Overall though, our tipping data does not indicate a positive trend in the economy."

Some highlights from the study include:

1. Range in tips across the jobs is fairly wide. Gaming Dealers report the largest tips with $12.60/hour, while Swimming Pool & Spa Technicians report the lowest tips at $0.30/hour.

2. Highest median hourly tips: The three jobs with the highest median hourly tips are Gaming Dealers ($12.60), Butlers ($11.40), and Sommeliers ($9.80). Remember that these are just median tips and it is possible for workers in these jobs to receive much higher or much lower tips. Over 50 percent of the total hourly income for Gaming Dealers comes from tips. The only other jobs where over 50 percent of the total income comes from tips are Bartenders (56%) and Waiters/Waitresses (69%). In comparison, only ~1/3 of the total hourly income for Butlers and Sommeliers come from tips.

3. The spread in reported tips can be very wide for certain jobs. For example, the bottom 25 percent of Sommeliers are tipped less than $5.10/hour, while the top 25 percent are tipped more than $13.50/hour. This results in a spread of about 3x between the 25th percentile and 75th percentile of tips, which is not uncommon among the tipped jobs: over 80 percent of the jobs included on the list have a spread of at least 3x. Jobs which have at least a 7.5x spread include: Baggage Porter or Bellhop, Dining Room Attendant, Dog Walker, Doorman, Hotel Floor Manager, Guest Services Representative, Housekeeper/Maid, Makeup Artist, Newspaper Delivery Driver, Parking Attendant, Personal Chef, and Tour Guide.

4. Median hourly tips fell by a significant amount for Night Club General Managers and Bar Managers. Median hourly tips fell 40 percent for Night Club Managers and by 16 percent for Bar Managers. Although tips for Night Club General Managers fell by more over the previous year, Bar Managers are hurt more by their decrease, as a larger portion of their total income comes from tips. Only ~15 percent of a Night Club Manager's total hourly income is from tips compared to ~40 percent of a Bar Manager's total hourly income.

5. Median hourly tips rose for Butlers and Building Superintendents. Median hourly tips reported for Butlers more than doubled from last year making them one of the top jobs for tips. Last year, Butlers barely cracked the top 20 for highest median hourly tips and this year they are #2. Building Superintendents also saw a significant rise in hourly tips (over a 100 percent increase from last year). However only ~6 percent of their total hourly income is from tips and thus their overall pay increase was minimal.

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.

Every day tens of thousands of people take PayScale's salary survey to compare their pay anonymously with their peers and improve their understanding of the job market and specific job listings. PayScale created the concept of anonymously comparing your salary online - in detail - to other real people with similar individual and job characteristics (e.g. location, company type and size, job title, work experience, education, skills, and more.) Using advanced search and proprietary matching technology, PayScale finds a relevant peer group from its dataset that matches the user-provided job information. The system allows every user's job profile to be unique and relevant to his/her different job requirements. This creates a level of accuracy that cannot be achieved with traditional methodologies and allows individuals to better understand earning potential.

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. For more information, visit:; Follow us on Twitter:


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