Top Paying Hospitality Jobs
Deb Ward / DECEMBER 22 2020

Earning top pay is likely not the main reason for choosing a career in hospitality; the opportunities for travel, meeting new and different people as well as working in exciting locations are just some of the perks of the job. 

Many of the highest-paid positions are for managers and directors who supervise staff at multiple locations. Your salary will depend on a variety of things: experience, specialty, and location. For example, a general manager in San Francisco, a casino host in Las Vegas, a chef in New York… all exceed the national median income due to location, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Regardless of specific locations, here are 9 of the highest paying hospitality jobs:

  1. Director of Housekeeping: The responsibilities include supervising room attendants, cleaners, and other housekeeping staff. They are charged with maintaining hotel standards as well as managing the budget for supplies, vendors, etc. You don’t necessarily need a degree, but you will need a number of years of experience to move up through the ranks. According to Salary.com for this position, the median income is $85,900/year.
  2. Executive Chef: Depending on your choice of venue, chefs may work in restaurants, hotels, casinos, cruise ships, resorts, or any other facility that serves food. They are tasked with overseeing all kitchen staff, creating unique menus, ordering supplies, and ensuring the quality of food is consistent. No formal education is required, but it helps to have a culinary degree to get your foot in the door. It may take years to work your way up to this prestigious position. The median income for this position is $70,559/year.
  3. Executive Pastry Chef: In this position you’ll manage all aspects of the pastry department and often will report to the executive chef. You will be creating new pastries, hiring and training pastry staff, and managing payroll, and controlling costs. You can expect to work in hotels, resorts, restaurants, cafes, resorts, and cruise ships. The median income is $64,391.
  4. Food and Beverage Director: Just like chefs, food, and beverage directors work in a variety of environments such as sporting venues, casinos, airports, hotels, restaurants, and resorts. They are responsible for managing inventory, hiring and training staff, and working closely with other departments to coordinate and plan special events as well as enforcing quality and safety standards. You will need a degree in hospitality or business for this position. Median income is $97,843.
  5. General Manager: Hotel general managers work to ensure guests are happy, the operations are efficient and the business is profitable. They oversee property maintenance and overall appearance and monitor all costs, budgets, and forecasts. It involves training supervisors and ensuring hiring practices comply with company and legal requirements. They are also responsible for enforcing guest and employee sanitation guidelines and policies. You will need a bachelor’s degree. Median income is $110,700.
  6. Sommelier: Upscale hotels and restaurants typically hire sommeliers to be their in-house wine experts. They serve guests and provide advice on what wines to order and what will complement their meal selection. Sometimes, businesses will hire a sommelier to consult on wine purchases for big events. You need extensive and specific training to earn this title and there are multiple levels of certification. Master Sommelier is the highest rank. Median income is $58,602.
  7. Director of Sales: In this position, you’ll be charged with developing and managing of the department’s budget and monitoring sales activities. You’ll create and implement marketing campaigns, develop sales action plans and participate in sales meetings. This job typically includes bonuses and commissions in addition to base salary. A bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of experience are preferred. Median income is $166,362.
  8. Chief Engineer: As properties go high tech and offer multiple amenities, the job of a chief engineer involves resolving problems, troubleshooting electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, and soliciting bids from contractors. They are responsible for coordinating with local health, safety, fire, and building inspectors, and supervising maintenance staff. This position requires a high school diploma and related certifications and experience. Median salary is $60,650.
  9. Director of Operations: This job manages all aspects of the hotel property including operations, staffing and customer satisfaction for maximum efficiency and profitability. It monitors all operating costs, budgets, and forecasts and would report to the general manager as head of all the departments in a hotel. This job typically requires a bachelor’s degree and multiple years of experience. Median income is $110,602.

Often, these positions pay a premium on cruise ships and in the aviation industry. In other countries, different positions may have varied growth opportunities as well as differing salary scales. Hospitality is such a vast and dynamic industry, there are plenty of ways to get ahead and advancement can come quickly with experience and specific certifications