Welcome to the WEdata Sector Blog Series where we review the supply and demand of labour for each of the region’s top sectors of employment. To read more blogs like this, visit wfwe.elev8webstudio.com/sectors.



The Tourism and Hospitality Sector is made up of the Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector (NAICS #71) and the Accommodation and food services sector (NAICS #72).  Together they have a total of 1,660 business, and make up 5% of businesses in region. Arts, entertainment, and recreation has 459 businesses employing 4,745 workers and Accommodation and food services has 1,201 businesses employing 13, 295 workers.  These two sectors employ approximately 18,040 workers or 10% of the total workforce in Windsor-Essex.

Organization Size: The Accommodation and food services sector is one of the few that has many more businesses with employees (73%) compared to owner-operated businesses with no employees (27%). Sixty-eight percent (68%) have fewer than than 50 employees, and of those 32% have less than 10 workers. There is one large Accommodation and food service business that employs more than 500 workers. The Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector is similar to other sectors having more owner-operated businesses without employees (69%) than businesses that are employers (31%). Of the ones with employees, 88% have less than 50 workers, 51% have less than 10, and one has 200-499 workers.

Demographics: The Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector is one of the few with gender parity – that is a similar number of females to males – at the employee level, although at self-employed worker level males outnumber females 6 to 4. There were no unpaid family workers in this sector. There are gender disparities at the sub-sector level, with more female workers in Amusement, gambling, and recreation and Heritage Institutions and more males in Performing arts and spectator sports. The Accommodation and food services sector has a female : male gender ratio of 3 : 2 for employees and unpaid family workers. However, the ratio is the opposite for self-employed workers with 2 females for every 3 male business owner.   

The Accommodation and food services sector has the largest proportion of young workers with 45% under 24 years old, and 60% under 34 years old. About 16% are over 55 years old. In contrast, the Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector has an older demographic with 45% of workers 35-54 years old and about 21% over 55 years old.

Work Activity and Income: The median income for full-year, full-time workers in Accommodation and food services is $23.7K, which under the national median income of $36.5K. Those employed full year, part-time had median incomes of about $10.7K and part-year, full-time and part-time workers had median incomes of about $7K.   The Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector median income for full-year, full-time workers is $41.8K, which is above the national median income. In this sector, full year, part-time workers had median incomes of about $15.2K and part-year, full-time and part-time workers had median incomes of about $12.5K.

Education and Income: The increased earning potential of post-secondary education is clear in these two sectors. The Accommodation and food services sector has lower incomes and 68% of its workers have high school education or less. Where as Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector workers earn nearly double and about 50% have some post-secondary qualifications. Similar to other sectors workers with apprenticeships, college, university certificates, and university degrees have the highest median incomes, followed by workers with high school diplomas, and those with the lowest incomes have not completed high school.

Retirement: National projected sector retirements rates to the year 2026 are higher for Accommodation and food services at about 4.5% than the Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector which are around 2.1%. However, the age demographic results, discussed above, showing that the Accommodation and food services sector has younger workers than the Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector would seem to contradict this projection. The national projections figures cannot account for local demographics and it is likely that the Windsor-Essex region has younger workers in this sector than the rest of the country.

Generally, occupational retirement rates in Tourism and Hospitality is lower than the national rate projected of 2%. According to the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) data the national median retirement age for workers in this sector is around 63-66 years old.

Education and Training: The Enrollment by Institution page shows how many students are enrolled in post-secondary programs at colleges and universities across Ontario. Organisations and businesses can search for the programs and institutions that they recruit and hire graduates from to see recent enrollment numbers for specific programs and institutions. Many local employers are concerned about the supply of skilled workers for their industry. Those businesses that want to attract the best and brightest talent are wise to be proactive and build relationships with education and training institutions and their instructors. Going even further to develop onsite opportunities for cooperative education and internship placements for students also gives employers an opportunity to test-drive potential employees. Everyone benefits. Consultations with local employers in this sector state that education programs are currently not providing enough soft-skills training for individuals looking to enter this sector. Soft-skills include such skills as: work ethic, dependability, teamwork, and etiquette.

Automation: These projections indicate how much of a given occupation’s work activities could be automated. They reflect automation predictions that routine activities, such as repetitive physical work and processing and collecting data, are more susceptible to automation, while those at low risk involve managing people and complex tasks employing expertise. The probability of occupational automation is higher for cleaners, front desk clerks, and lower for designers, and producers creative arts and programs.  

While automation may lead to some job losses and task restructuring, it is important to keep in mind that the Talented Mr. Robot report and others have concluded that in actuality less than 5% of occupations could be completely automated. The authors suggest that mitigating the potential negative effects will take collaboration between all sectors to increase understanding of the implications, identify local technological strengths and opportunities, and provide education and training to those whose jobs will be impacted. They also acknowledge that automation in sectors is likely to be slower than initial predictions for multiple reasons, including prohibitive costs, some technological advances are not occurring as quickly as predicted, and people’s preference that humans rather than machines to perform certain tasks.

According to consultations with local employers, Workforce WindsorEssex was able to identify some commonalities in the Tourism & Hospitality sector in Windsor-Essex. A common difficulty for employers in this industry is the retention of workers. Local employers often find it difficult to retain good employees in this industry, due to tourism relying heavily on seasonal demand. It is difficult for employers to retain employees who know they will potentially be let go once the in-demand tourism season ends. Good news for this sector is that demand for tourism and hospitality is expected to rise with the construction of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge. This project is projected to bring new tourism into the Windsor-Essex region as a result of a new international border crossing.

Sources: Census 2016; The Talented Mr. Robot (2016).  

Dive into the data of the Online Sector Dashboards at: