• Low paid and low skilled

My parents don’t want me to work in tourism because it is low paid and low skilled

We have all heard it a countless number of times. Why on earth would you want to work in tourism, it’s low paid, shift work, it requires no skill and definitely isn’t a career.

One of tourism’s greatest strengths is the low barriers to entry. If you can communicate and present yourself well, then the tourism industry will take you. And from there, you can have an incredible career – if you make it through the first five years.

There is no denying it, the first five years are hard

Reality is, you aren’t worth much – you haven’t really got any skills, so you’re paid minimum wage or just above and you’re working for an employer that can offer you, at best, part time, often seasonal, work. Effectively you end up scraping by and that isn’t much fun. 

Ironically, however, this is the time when you can have the most fun. There is great camaraderie amongst your fellow tourism workers, often because you’re all doing shift work, so it isn’t hard to find someone to head into town with on a Saturday night, or even a Tuesday night if that’s your day off. You also get incredible opportunities to enjoy activities and attractions either for free or heavily discounted industry rate.

Be a doctor, make mum and dad happy

Doctor’s study intensively for five years minimum where the risk of failure means no career, they also often end up in six figure debt before they can even start practicing. And then when they are released into the workforce, they get the worst shifts and longest hours imaginable, yet mums and dads would love for their child to be a doctor. Why?   

It’s a perception. Because yes, tourism is low paid and low skilled – when you start out. But it will also cost you nothing to enter and you can easily move up and across in the tourism industry to find your niche.

In it to win it

As you gain more experience and develop skills you can then start earning more money. The earning potential of tourism is uncapped unlike some professions like teaching or policing, which means while you might do the first five years tough, for the next 40 working years your potential to earn is determined by you and the effort you’re willing to put in.

Tell mum and dad to think of those first five years as an investment, and the next 40 as your return on that investment. Parents speak that language.