Survey reveals wage disparity in tribal casinos

May 13, 2008 7:00 PM

By GT Staff | Results of the 2007 Indian Gaming Compensation Survey by Scottsdale-based WageWatch, Inc., reveal that wages for hourly workers still lag the hotel industry, while management jobs are paid significantly greater.

A sample of eight jobs paid hourly shows that wages in Indian gaming organizations are 8 percent below the average wages for the same group of hourly paid jobs in full service hotels. These results are almost identical to the findings for a similar study completed on 2005 wages.

The hourly jobs analyzed are Bus Person, Retail Sales Clerk, Security Guard, Receptionist, Payroll Clerk, Maintenance Engineer, Housekeeper, and Front Desk Agent.

However, pay for management positions in Indian Gaming is considerably higher, especially for jobs such as Director of Security, Director of Human Resources, and Controller. These three jobs alone average 18 percent higher in Indian Gaming properties compared to those in full service hotels.

Data from the hotel industry were compiled from over 1,200 full service hotels in the U.S. Data from Indian casinos were from 34 different organizations across the country.

"With an economy sputtering, and the cost of food and gas increasing at a much higher rate than wages, service-providing employees are going to more readily look for jobs that pay50 cents or $1 more per hour, and employers will suffer from the high cost of turnover if their wages are not competitive," says Margaret Dyekman, president and COO of WageWatch. "On the flip side, even if certain salaried jobs are paid considerably higher than market, those managers may not be working up to their potential if they are constantly dealing with employee turnover versus spending time coaching and growing their staff to encourage better performance and customer service."

The 2007 Indian Gaming/Casino Survey covers over 22,000 employees across the nation and is the leading on-line source of Indian Gaming compensation data. WageWatch’s combined compensation database for Indian gaming and commercial gaming is the largest in the United States.

The Surveys capture average base wage rates, starting and maximum rates, bonus and commission data, and pay structure type. Jobs in the surveys are from casino-specific departments such as Bingo, Card Room, Blackjack, Slots, Security and Surveillance, as well as general sales and support departments such as Marketing, Administration, Finance, Information Technology, and Human Resources.

WageWatch, Inc., a Web-based, compensation and benefits survey company, has been gathering wage data for Indian gaming since 2003. Both the casino and hospitality industry surveys are available for purchase by non-participants and available to participating Indian gaming organizations at reduced rates. For additional information, contact Max Lidster at 1-888-330-9243, extension 209, or [email protected]com.