Skift Take

We'd be interested in seeing where the remaining travel agents are concentrated and which specialties may be growing while others continue their decline.

It’s been a tough few years for travel agents, and new data shows that the next decade probably won’t be any friendlier to the travel agency community.

According to the updated version of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the travel agency community is set to shed jobs while other segments of the travel industry are expecting growth.

“Employment of travel agents is projected to decline 12 percent from 2014 to 2024,” reads the handbook. “The ability of travelers to use the Internet to research vacations and book their own trips is expected to continue to suppress demand for travel agents. An increasing amount of travel is also expected to be booked on mobile devices.”

The median income of the travel agent is projected to be a mere $34,800. The report does suggest that there is a silver lining for travel agents who are able to hang in there.

“However, the sheer number of travel and review websites can make travel planning a frustrating experience for some consumers,” it reads. “This may lead to an increasing number of people turning to travel agents to help filter through the options and give personal recommendations.”

To put things in perspective, the workforce of the average occupation in the U.S. is expected to grow by seven percent over that time period.

Other segments of the travel industry are poised to experience strong growth over the same period.

Lodging managers, or hotel workers in other words, are expected to see an eight percent increase in jobs. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs are slated for 13 percent growth, thanks to improved efficiency spurred by ride-sharing technology.

“Employment of taxi drivers and chauffeurs is projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations,” reads the handbook. “An increase in ride-hailing services, that utilize electronic hailing through smartphone apps, should contribute to employment growth.”

Even flight attendants are expected to see a two percent growth in workforce by 2022.

What other travel occupations are losing workers in a similar fashion?

Railroad workers are expected to see a three percent decrease in workers. Other than that, the various segments of the travel industry are expected to experience solid growth well into the new decade.

To be transparent, journalists also face a tough road ahead; reporters are expected to see a nine percent decline, while editors are set for a five percent decline. [If Uber is reading this article, just remember I have above average people skills when my inevitable application hits your inbox.]

Here’s a breakdown of where different travel sectors stand in terms of occupational growth.

2014 median pay 2014 number of jobs 2014-2024 growth
Taxi Driver $23,210 233,700 13%
Meetings Planner $46,490 100,000 10%
Lodging Manager $47,680 48,400 8%
Air Pilot $103,390 119,200 5%
Flight Attendant $42,290 97,900 2%
Railroad Workers $53,670 113,300 -3%
Travel Agent $34,800 74,100 -12%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook


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Tags: labor, taxi, travel agents

Photo credit: A taxi driver in New York City. Jim Pennucci / Flickr

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