New Compensation Analysis of Tampa Bay’s Hourly Hotel Employees Reveals Salaries Significantly Higher Than Minimum Wage

Tampa, FL (Oct. 13, 2017)  A 2017 survey of the salaries and benefits afforded to employees earning hourly wages at Tampa Bay area hotels indicates most are being paid significantly more than minimum wage. In addition, part-time workers could qualify for days off with pay and may have opportunities to achieve career advancements with commensurate pay increases.

“In this market, (non-tipped, hourly) employees are earning anywhere from 12.3% to 121.5% over minimum wage at hire in 2017. This is an increase from 2016,” said Marissa Orlowski, Ph.D. M.B.A., an assistant professor with the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, reported to members of the Hillsborough County Hotel Motel Association (HCHMA) in October.

“Your (hourly employee) pay has increased over the past two years and is outpacing the national average,” she added.

The exceptions were pay rates for common tipped positions, such as bartenders and restaurant servers. However, on average, those employees still earned a starting pay rate of $7.03 per hour, an amount that exceeds the minimum wage for those positions of just over $5 per hour. Plus they receive tips on top of that salary.

This marks the second year that Tampa Bay hoteliers commissioned a study about current pay rates and job related benefits for hourly employees directly employed by the lodging industry.

Commissioned by the HCHMA, with logistical support from Lykes Insurance, the research also showed that, depending on the length of service and the policy of each hotel property, hourly employees are eligible for paid days off that can be used as vacation, sick days, personal time or for holidays.

“The hospitality industry has long been attacked as low wage, no benefit dead-end career job creators. Unfortunately, our historic response has been almost uniform silence, with no data to counter the negative description placed over our hotels and hospitality partners,” said Bob Morrison, HCHMA executive director.

“The 2017 HCHMA Tampa Bay Hotel Wage and Benefit Survey offers a very different conclusion. We believe this survey provides a very unique snapshot of what we as an industry deliver to Tampa Bay’s workforce.”

Dr. Orlowski collected survey data in July from general managers and human resource directors of participating hotels.

The findings were compiled from online surveys submitted by 41 hotels, an increase from the 35 represented in last year’s report. Wages for 89 hourly positions, ranging from cooking and spa staff to housekeeping personnel and banquet servers, are represented in the report.

Those properties voluntarily responding to the survey included 28 full service properties and 13 select service. Those totals compare with the 24 full and 11 select service hotels that participated in the 2016 survey.

Properties from the four designated Hillsborough County regions (Downtown/Historic Ybor City, Westshore/Rocky Point, Brandon/Fairgrounds and Busch Gardens/USF/New Tampa) were included in the findings.