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Hourly Tips Haven’t Recovered

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Dorling Kindersley | Getty Images

The recession’s toll on hourly tips is continuing this year, according tothe results of an annual year-end tipping study released Tuesday by PayScale Inc. which tracks employee compensation data.

In last year’s study, PayScale found that the average change in median hourly tips from the year prior across all 80 jobs tracked was a decrease of 5 percent. This year, according to PayScale, the average difference in median hourly tips across the jobs was to stay constant with last year, i.e. no difference. The report is based on an analysis of PayScale’s ongoing online compensation survey.

“2010 was just as bad as 2009 as far as people in the tipped professions are concerned,” said Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis at PayScale. “The decline that happened last year hasn’t bounced back, and there hasn’t been a return to precession levels for tips.”

Mr. Lee said the findings were likely a result of people continuing to cut spending in areas that are dominated by tipping, like personal hygiene, restaurants and hotels. “People aren’t spending as much on hair care and going out to eat and so forth, and that means people’s wages are being held down,” he said.

Still, two jobs did see their median hourly tips more than double from last year – butlers and building superintendents. Mr. Lee said this was likely because of the recovery in pay on Wall Street and in the financial sector.

How have your tipping practices changed from last year, if at all?

(Hint hint: CNBC's Best Holiday Tipping Pratices are here.)