Global Gaming Business
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
As I have written previously in these pages, our industry’s employees are our biggest asset. The commercial casino gaming industry is first and foremost a service industry, and we count on our employees to show our patrons the most considerate attention possible.
With this in mind, attracting top-notch talent is essential to the continued success of our business. This can be a challenging proposition in light of the serious competition for top recruits, but our industry has much to offer the bright young stars of tomorrow. In fact, the casino industry offers one of the most dynamic and exciting employment environments in the U.S. today, with opportunities for individuals with a broad range of expertise and interests. Indeed commercial gaming companies provide opportunities, benefits and environments in which to excel that rival those of any Fortune 500 company.
Also, recent reports by the Department of Labor showing that job growth in casino entertainment will outpace the growth of the U.S. economy between 2006 and 2016 provide an incentive to pursue a career in our industry. Add to that the very high level of job satisfaction reported by those who currently work in commercial casino gaming, and you have another plus for talented individuals to consider as they search for an ideal industry in which to build a career and a future.
Indeed, prospective employees should be impressed with the results of a national survey of casino industry employee attitudes about their jobs that found 85 percent enjoy what they are doing. These results were reported in a white paper “A Survey of Attitudes of Casino Industry Employees,” released as part of the AGA’s 10th anniversary white paper series.
Peter D. Hart, chairman of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, the firm that conducted the survey, said upon release of the white paper that, “The level of job satisfaction and the underlying reasons for that satisfaction are a high compliment to the gaming industry.” Hart went on to note that the survey reveals casino industry employees see their jobs as opening doors and allowing them to flourish in different aspects of their lives – earning a good income, increasing savings, reducing debt, continuing their education, buying a home, supporting a family, and giving back to their communities.
The white paper also reported that solid majorities of the employees surveyed reported that benefits, pay and opportunities for advancement are better in their current positions than in past jobs.
Nearly half of the employees surveyed said they will definitely or probably be working in the casino gaming industry for the next 10 years, which is consistent with another survey finding: The median tenure within the casino gaming industry is seven years, 42 percent of employees have worked in the industry for more than 10 years, and 30 percent have been with the same company for more than a decade. This points to work in the gaming industry as more than just a job, but a career with long-term growth potential.
The survey showed that casino employment has provided a good living and opportunities for a truly diverse workforce, and that casino employees take pride in their jobs, as well as the gaming industry – 83 percent of those surveyed said they would strongly recommend it to others.
Furthermore, prospective employees can take heart in the fact that, in the midst of these challenging economic times, the commercial casino industry continues to be a stable economic force. Certainly, our industry, like many others, has struggled in recent months due to the overall downturn in the national economy, but history has shown that we may be better equipped to weather the storm than many other sectors. Certainly our continuing growth and evolution into a multi-faceted entertainment product has allowed us to maintain a great deal of our strength. This is evident in all parts of the nation where casino gaming is part of the local economic mix, from Detroit to Atlantic City to the Gulf Coast and, of course, Las Vegas.
All of this means jobs, which means a future for tens of thousands of Americans. In Detroit, the casinos have directly created more than 7,000 jobs at a time when many Michigan companies are closing or cutting back. And the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which has seen some bleak times, will benefit from 2,000 jobs generated by the Bethworks project being built on the site of the old Bethlehem Steel mill. Along the Gulf Coast, the post-Katrina commercial casino gaming industry has put nearly 20,000 gaming industry employees back to work. A recent study of the prospects for gaming in Massachusetts – Casino Gaming In Massachusetts: An Economic, Fiscal and Social Analysis – conducted for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce shows that upwards of 20,000 new jobs would be created by the location of casinos in the state. And the development projects currently underway and planned in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and elsewhere mean the availability of opportunities will only continue to grow.
In order to support the success of industry recruitment programs to attract top talent from across the country, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is developing a campaign to communicate the benefits of working in our business, highlighting the cutting-edge nature of the industry as well as the challenging and rewarding corporate work environment, multitude of career options, and opportunities for advancement. The AGA initiative will provide a “big picture” look at the industry to augment materials developed by individual companies.
The commercial casino gaming industry is a desirable field in which ambitious and talented people can build a successful and rewarding future. There is in fact no other industry that offers more wide ranging opportunities for such individuals to grow and advance in their careers. The AGA and its member companies understand the need to get the word out about the attractiveness of a career in the commercial casino sector, and for a continuing infusion of talent to keep our industry moving ahead.