Is the Hospitality Industry a Good Career Path?

According to a 2023 report from Credit Karma, restaurant cooks are the third-fastest growing job in the nation, behind only wind turbine service technicians and nurse practitioners. The restaurant sector is one part of the overall hospitality industry. Is this a good career path to consider?

Hospitality is an excellent career path, with steady year-over-year growth, a high demand for skilled employees, plenty of income to earn, and new and exciting advancement opportunities.

This guide will examine hospitality’s current trajectory and what the future of this industry looks like so you can plan whether to seek a hospitality job as your first or next career.

Hospitality Careers and Their Futures

EHL Hospitality Business School reports that the hospitality industry as a whole added 22 million jobs in 2022, which was a 7.9 percent increase compared to 2021. The total number of hospitality jobs in 2022 is 330 million.

However, hospitality is a broad field. Let’s break down specific careers and the trajectory of each. The following information is courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hotel Manager

Lodging managers oversee the day-to-day operations at a hotel, including managing money, setting budgets, resolving ongoing issues and complaints, reviewing staff performance, and helping guests.

A hotel manager can also hire new staff and sometimes has the unenviable job of firing staff.

In 2021, 51,200 hotel management jobs were available. Between 2021 and 2031, up to 9,200 new jobs will be added, with an average growth rate of 18 percent. That’s faster than normal.

Event Manager

An event manager or event planner brings events to life. They’ll discuss a client’s goals, set a budget, then get planning. Other jobs an event manager will take over are venue scoping and inspections, finding event services, and overseeing the event on the big day.

In 2021, the US had 128,200 event management positions. From 2021 to 2031, 22,900 new jobs will be added for a growth rate of 18 percent. That’s also faster than average. 


Bartenders work at restaurants, bars, and other establishments on a freelance or permanent basis. They know how to whip up any drink, including custom concoctions, and can serve customers quickly and efficiently. This role requires good time management, people skills, and multitasking capabilities.

The country had 514,000 bartenders in 2021, with 92,000 more projected to be added between 2021 and 2031. This will lead to a growth rate of 18 percent, faster than the norm and on par with the other hospitality jobs we’ve looked at so far.

Restaurant Manager

Food service or restaurant managers oversee the daily operations at a restaurant. They’ll schedule staff and dictate who does what, create performance standards, create and stick to a budget, inspect restaurant equipment, and ensure everyone follows food safety rules.

The restaurant manager will also stock supplies, train new employees, and manage hirings and firings.

The number of restaurant managers in the US in 2021 was 329,100, with 32,300 jobs projected to be added from 2021 to 2031. This job will experience growth at a rate of 10 percent. That’s still faster than average but not compared to the other hospitality jobs on this list.

Travel Agent

A travel agent makes dreams come true. They meet with clients to plan vacations, business trips, and other adventures within and outside of the country. They’ll crunch numbers to determine travel expenses, and book all the necessary lodging and transportation based on this information.

They’ll also help clients find food and entertainment options to make their stays extraordinary.

This job had 46,200 roles in 2021, with 9,100 to be added from 2021 to 2031. At that rate, travel agent jobs will grow by 20 percent, which exceeds any hospitality job growth rate we’ve looked at yet.


Restaurants are incomplete without chefs to cook food. Those in a head chef role will ensure fresh ingredients, plan restaurant menus, determine daily specials, work with other food prep employees, and maintain cleanliness.

A head chef will train cooks below them and mentor them. They’ll also set the kitchen safety standards and ensure their fellow staff does the same.

BLS predicts that the US had 152,800 chef jobs in 2021. Between 2021 and 2031, about 23,600 new jobs will open up. That’s a growth rate of 15 percent, which is above average. However, it’s below the hospitality growth rate average of 18 percent.

How Much Money Can You Earn in a Hospitality Job?

As the last section proves, the hospitality industry has a healthy future ahead of it. While that’s great to know, you can’t reasonably decide to enter a hospitality career without learning more about income potential.

This table showcases how much you can earn for the above jobs with data courtesy of BLS.

Job TitleHourly WageAnnual Income
Hotel manager$28.57$59,430
Event manager$23.79$49,470
Bartender$12.67 (excluding tips)$26,350 (excluding tips)
Restaurant manager$28.58$59,440
Travel agent$21.06$43,810

Of course, we must note that income varies with location and experience, so the above numbers should be used as estimates. 

The Pros of Working in Hospitality

We’ve assessed the career longevity and earning potential for employees in the hospitality sector. In this section and the next, we’ll dive deep into the advantages and downsides of this career choice.

You Get to Help People

Whether you’re helping a family plan their dream vacation or facilitating a dinner where someone proposes marriage, a job in hospitality consistently puts you in a position to help others. You’ll improve their quality of life in unforgettable ways.

You Can Rake in Bonuses and Tips

Some hospitality jobs such as serving as a restaurant waitstaff or bartending are dependent on tips. You will earn a consistent wage but not one that’s high enough for many employees. Thus, tips will become a big part of your earnings.

Other hospitality jobs afford bonuses, especially if you’re a travel agent or tour guide. You might earn a bonus for closing X number of deals or retaining Y clients.

You’ll Learn Money Management Skills

The hospitality roles we reviewed at the start of this guide consistently involve money management. You might set a budget, order ingredients or supplies, and oversee spending to ensure your business continues to remain in the green.

Money management skills are valuable in your personal and professional life.

You Might Get to Lead a Team

Stepping into a leadership position is a dream role for many. Hospitality jobs frequently allow you to test out your leadership skills as you manage small teams. For instance, as a head chef, you can train new hires who may someday occupy your role.

Management positions in hospitality enable you to make hiring and even firing decisions.

You’ll Experience More Cultures

Working in hospitality means exposure to many cultures. You’ll work with a diverse cast and see even more unique personalities come through your door, especially if you work in the travel sector. These experiences will make you a more well-rounded individual.

You Get to Strengthen Your Communication Skills

Communication is the backbone of hospitality. It’s your job to ensure your clients or customers have a great time, and you can only do that through clear, concise communication. You’ll also learn how to interact with team members of varying levels, especially if you’re in a leadership role.

You’ll Find Plenty of Networking Opportunities

You’re constantly introduced to new faces in a hospitality job, which means networking opportunities galore. You never know who you might shake hands or rub elbows with and what kinds of chances that could lead to.

You Might Get to Travel

As if all the other perks discussed thus far weren’t tempting enough, working in hospitality might afford you the covetable opportunity to travel. You could get to see new parts of the world you’ve only ever dreamed of visiting.

Of course, you’re still on the clock, so you’ll have to work, but you can spend your spare time exploring new parts of the world and drinking in all the culture.

You Can Climb the Career Ladder

Job stagnation can lead to dissatisfaction. Hospitality jobs consistently present new opportunities to grow. You can advance in your career track and possibly evolve into other tracks as you gain more skills and experience.

The Downsides of Working in Hospitality

No job is perfect, and that includes hospitality roles. Before you jump headfirst into your new hospitality career, keep the following issues in mind.

You Will Work Long Hours

Hospitality is a very rewarding job, but the hours can be unforgiving. You will work far beyond the standard nine-to-five. You might have 10 or 12-hour shifts, even 14 hours or overnight shifts depending on your job.

You also won’t work mornings to afternoons, but perhaps afternoons to evenings or nights. The schedule can be grueling, and it never stays the same for long.

You might work all afternoons one week, then nights the next. This can make it hard to plan activities with friends and family, as you don’t know what you’ll be up to next week.

The Job Environment Is Stressful

Many hospitality roles are high-paced, especially restaurants and hotels. People constantly come in and out expecting five-star service, and it’s your job to deliver it to them. You will have downtime, but how long it lasts is anyone’s guess.

The frenetic energy that accompanies working in hospitality best suits go-getters with endless energy who don’t let many things get them down.

You Might Not Have Much Work/Life Balance

The problem with working too many hours is you must make sacrifices. Usually, this means giving up your personal time. You’ll want to spend your nights and days off catching up on your sleep or vegging out watching Netflix to counteract your busy work schedule.

A work/life balance is integral for sound mental and physical health, so you must find a way to incorporate downtime into your life, and make sure to use your vacation time.

You Will Work on the Weekends

A standard job has a nine-to-five schedule Monday through Friday. However, that’s not the case in hospitality. You will work when required, which often means you’re on the clock on weekends.

After all, when do most people travel? The weekend. When do they need a hotel or wish to dine out? That’s right, it’s the weekend.

Your job can’t be a ghost town when most people have time off to experience new things. You must be ready to serve them.

You will still receive time off, but it won’t be on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays. Instead, you might have off on a random Monday or Tuesday. This further compounds the issue where you’ll have a hard time scheduling activities and events with your friends and family.

Your schedule will clash with theirs, and vice-versa. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to see one another, but you will have to work harder to make it happen.


The hospitality industry is a great career path. This industry has career longevity, great pay, and offers many benefits, such as leadership roles, networking opportunities, and the chances to strengthen one’s leadership and communication skills. You could soon find yourself climbing the career ladder.

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