Tips have reached a tipping point. The amount people in the service industry make in tips is up for the first time in three years, according to a report published today by PayScale. The online compensation data company reported that tips fell 5% between 2008 and 2009, remained flat from 2009 to 2010, but rose 4% in the most recent period.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed PayScale data to identify the jobs that make the most money in tips.
Though tips overall have not returned to pre-recession levels, there are signs of recovery in a number of fields. Katie Bardaro, lead research analyst at PayScale, told 24/7 Wall St. that "the increase in tips observed does hint at a recovery in service-heavy industries, such as restaurants, hotels and casinos, but as you can see, not everyone is bringing home more in tips, even when they are at the top of the list."
In many occupations, workers need tips to survive. Tips make up at least 25% of total hourly income for 19 of the 92 service jobs analyzed by PayScale. In some cases, over 50% of income is made in the form of tips. Waiters and waitresses, for example, can legally be paid less than minimum wage. As a result, median base hourly pay is a mere $4.20 for servers. Median hourly tips, on the other hand, are $7.00.
For other occupations, tips are more of a perk - a big perk, but a perk nonetheless. These generally require a higher level of training than jobs that rely more on tips. For example, tattoo artists require some level of training, skill and talent. They rank high in median hourly tips, but those tips only comprise 18% of total income.
24/7 Wall St. looked at the ten jobs with the highest median hourly tips. We then reviewed the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook for further information on job descriptions and employment outlooks.
10. Banquet server
- Median hourly tips: $5.70
- Median base hourly pay: $8.00
- Total hourly income: $13.70
- Total hourly income from tips: 42%
- Estimated employment: 162,000
In general, server positions are abundant, and are expected to remain that way for many years. However, because tips comprise such a large portion of earnings, there is stiff competition for positions at nicer or more popular venues. Duties performed by banquet servers include hosting, waiting, and bussing tables.
9. Tattoo artist
- Median hourly tips: $6.10
- Median base hourly pay: $27.50
- Total hourly income: $33.60
- Total hourly income from tips: 18%
- Estimated employment: 65,000
There is a high level of competition for positions as tattoo artists. However, as tattoo artists require both exceptional talent and creativity, they receive a high median hourly pay - $27.50. On top of this, tattoo artists receive a significant amount in tips, which makes sense considering that customers would like to keep their tattooer happy.
- Median hourly tips: $7.00
- Median base hourly pay: $4.20
- Total hourly income: $11.20
- Total hourly income from tips: 63%
- Estimated employment: 2,400,000
Waiters and waitresses have among the lowest median base hourly rates of all jobs. As employers frequently take legal "tip credits" toward their minimum wage obligations, the median hourly pay for wait staff is $4.20. Tips are almost always expected for servers, except in specific instances, such as at fast food restaurants. Median hourly tips are $7.00, which makes up a very large 63% of total income.
7. Casino shift manager
- Median hourly tips: $7.50
- Median base hourly pay: $17.40
- Total hourly income: $24.90
- Total hourly income from tips: 30%
- Estimated employment: 23,000
Like hotel floor managers, casino shift managers need strong customer service skills. In addition to preparing schedules and assigning work stations, they must circulate among gaming tables and observe operations. Shift managers often interpret or explain the operating rules to patrons and address complaints about service. Casino patrons are already spending lots of money, and tips are given often. Above average growth is expected in the field.
6. Bar manager
- Median hourly tips: $7.60
- Median base hourly pay: $11.40
- Total hourly income: $19.00
- Total hourly income from tips: 40%
- Estimated employment: 110,000
Bar managers, like casino shift managers, receive a high portion of income from tips. Compared to bartenders, managers have higher median hourly pay and lower hourly tips. Still, 40% of total hourly income is received in the form of tips. Job opportunities in this field are generally good as there is a high turnover rate.
5. Banquet captain
- Median hourly tips: $7.70
- Median base hourly pay: $8.80
- Total hourly income: $16.50
- Total hourly income from tips: 47%
- Estimated employment: 61,000
Banquet captains oversee all aspects of catered events. This includes planning and cleaning up for events. In addition to managing events, banquet captains often have to work the floor, stepping in as server or bartender as needed. They must also see to specific customer concerns. Although there is no projection solely for future banquet captain employment, employment of food service managers is expected to grow 5% between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Median hourly tips: $7.80
- Median base hourly pay: $15.70
- Total hourly income: $23.50
- Total hourly income from tips: 33%
- Estimated employment: 25,000
Sommeliers are wine experts. They use their finely tuned palates to help restaurant patrons pick which wines will go best with their food. Sommeliers must have full knowledge of a restaurant's wine cellar, which they often stock. As much of a sommelier's work involves dealing directly with customers, tipping is frequent. Better still, they often work at fine dining establishments where tips are frequently larger than average.
- Median hourly tips: $8.50
- Median base hourly pay: $20.80
- Total hourly income: $29.30
- Total hourly income from tips: 29%
- Estimated employment: 10,000
Butlers are domestic servants and frequently manage the rest of a household's staff. As a result, they are often referred to as house managers or estate managers. Although butlers receive relatively high median base pay, they also make a high amount of tips, accounting for nearly 30% of overall income.
- Median hourly tips: $9.60
- Median base hourly pay: $7.80
- Total hourly income: $17.40
- Total hourly income from tips: 55%
- Estimated employment: 510,000
Bartending is an occupation people frequently associate with tipping. Bartenders often serve large groups of people at one time and these customers typically leave a tip for each drink ordered. Unlike waiters and waitresses, bartenders receive a relatively decent median hourly pay. Median hourly tips of nearly $10 make bartending a well-paying job.
1. Gaming dealer
- Median hourly tips: $12.40
- Median base hourly pay: $7.20
- Total hourly income: $19.60
- Total hourly income from tips: 63%
- Estimated employment: 92,000
Gaming dealers operate casino gaming tables, such as blackjack, craps, and roulette. In addition to knowing the rules of the games they watch over, gaming dealers must be skilled in customer service. Dealers receive 63% of their income through tips, given by players in the form of tokens. With more states legalizing gambling and the growing popularity of Indian casinos and racinos, employment in gaming services is projected to grow by 14% between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS.
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