Graduate Center Study Reports Unprecedented Growth in NYC Hotel Industry


Media Contact:  Tanya Domi, 212-817-7283,

Graduate Center Study Reports Unprecedented Growth
in NYC Hotel Industry in Boroughs Beyond Manhattan;
Workers Paid Competitive Wages, Easily Exceeding NYC Median Average
New York, March 13, 2013—The Graduate Center at City University New York released a study today that reports unprecedented growth in New York City hotel industry, breaking with its traditional concentration in Manhattan, with new capital development in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island that is expected to continue over the next few years.
The study also reports that New York City hotel worker salaries are competitively paid, along with fringe benefits through union representation, especially in Manhattan, enjoying an average pay of $53,045, well above the citywide median of $45,540.  This is a highly diverse workforce, reflecting the dynamism of New York City and turnover is low.
The report, New York City’s Traveler Accommodation Industry: A Guide for Education and Workforce Professionalswas prepared for Deputy Mayors Gibbs and Steel and Schools’ Chancellor Walcott, and the Workforce Collaborative (comprising several City agencies).  The study was conducted by The Graduate Center’s New York Labor Market Information Service (NYLMIS), a project of the Center for Urban Research.  
"The booming hotel industry is strategic to New York City's economic well-being and is a great source of jobs for New Yorkers in all boroughs and at all skill levels," said Lesley Hirsch, director of the NYLMIS and co-author of the report.  "The report is a great resource for anyone who wants to know how to get a foot in the door and find a good paying job in the industry."
According to the report, “travel accommodation is a thriving industry in New York City” that has grown in recent years,” by increasing hotel room inventory by 22 percent 2006 to 2011, when Wall Street and other industries were contracting.  Indeed, growth is expected to expand another 10 percent by 2014 with new hotel construction projects already underway.
The findings of this report also indicate that there are ample educational and training programs, available to train potential personnel, including top hotel management schools at Cornell and NYU, and hospitality, travel and tourism and culinary arts degree programs at several CUNY colleges. Complimenting these programs are training opportunities afforded by non-profits and career themed academies operated by the New York City Department of Education. 
"The growth and strength of New York City's hotel sector is a key reason why we are able to continue attracting record levels of tourism to the City year after year. As more hotels open throughout the five boroughs, we're able to provide visitors with more unique travel experiences while also giving New Yorkers better access to jobs that pay more than the citywide median," said Kimberly Spell, NYC & Company's Chief Communications Officer.
Highlights of the report:

NYC Hotel Industry

·      The hotel industry’s success is largely attributable to New York City’s popularity as a business and tourism destination. Both 2011 and 2012 saw record numbers of visitors to New York City: 50 million and 52 million respectively;
·      The number of hotels in New York City grew 39 percent between 2006 and 2011, compared to six percent between 2000 and 2005; and
·      More than two-thirds of the hotels in New York City are in Manhattan (409 out of 597). Queens has the next largest number with 99, mostly near the airports and in Long Island City; and Brooklyn is third, although it has seen the largest percentage increase in the last 10 years (167 percent).

Employment and Workforce

·      Employment in New York City’s hotel industry grew by 45 percent between 2001 and 2011, faster than the private sector as a whole, which grew by 4 percent;
·      The hotel workforce looks like New York City: it is diverse, employs people from all five boroughs, and includes both native-and foreign-born New Yorkers;
·      According to employers, the most valued workers like to serve others, are able to solve customer problems, and are willing to work hard;
·      Job seekers need perseverance to “get a foot in the door.” The application process for a job in the industry often involves online tests and multiple interviews;
·      Every employer interviewed reported that there are real opportunities for career advancement in the industry;
·      In 2011, the average industry wage was $53,045, well above the city-wide median of $45,540, but below the citywide average of $61,270;
·      Under the current union contract, workers in unionized hotels offer wages well above what is paid to similar occupations in other industries;
·      Room attendants (maids) in unionized hotels earn $26.35 per hour compared to the citywide average of $17.11 per hour;
·      Dishwashers in unionize hotels earn $25.62 per hour compared to $9.83 per hour citywide;
·      Many non-union hotels, especially in Manhattan, offer pay rates that are influenced by the union agreement;
·      For the most part, larger, full-service hotels are unionized and smaller, limited-service hotels – those that offer rooms with few other services or amenities – are not. Unionized hotels are concentrated in Manhattan; and
·      According to online sources and employer interviews, managers and guest service agents are the hardest jobs to fill.

The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center defines the standard of contemporary graduate education: rigorous academic training and globally significant research.   It is recognized for outstanding scholarship across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, and is integral to the intellectual and cultural vitality of New York City. Through its extensive public programs, the Graduate Center hosts a wide range of events – lectures, conferences, book discussions, art exhibits, concerts, and dance and theatre – that enrich and inform.   
At the heart of the Graduate Center’s mission is knowledge creation. The Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) promotes interdisciplinary research; partners with the Graduate Center’s forty research centers, institutes, interdisciplinary committees, and other academic initiatives; connects the research activities of CUNY faculty at the colleges to Graduate Center research programs and seminars; provides a home for outstanding visiting scholars to collaborate with faculty and students; and offers support to Graduate Center doctoral students pursuing research as well as to postdoctoral students who have completed their initial projects.
For a PDF of the report, contact Tanya Domi, director of media relations by emailing

Submitted on: MAR 13, 2013

Category: Press Room