Sector Profile - Service Industry

Service. It is easily the fastest growing sector of the economy – locally, regionally and nationally.

wait staffBut what exactly is the service sector? To some degree, it overlaps most other sectors, including education, health care and retail. By many definitions, it also includes government and human services. Generally speaking, if you work with the public to accommodate their needs, comfort or entertainment you are in the service sector.

In the four counties, the service of others is a growth business, offering many opportunities for employment. However with some exception (see health care, tech services and finance), salaries in the service sector may be less attractive than in other fields. There are also, typically, fewer long-term benefits and a higher rate of turnover.

That said, there is also tremendous opportunity for those with minimal education and training to learn while on the job and advance their careers.

Deb Taylor, the Director of Tourism in Otsego County shared these thoughts on career opportunity within the industry.

“One of the interesting things about the tourism industry is that you can start off as a line-employee. You can be behind the hotel desk, and there are opportunities to advance to higher management positions. The key to jobs like that is to understand them from the ground up. My sense is that you can really go as far as you want. If you like what you’re doing and you want to take it to a further level, you can do that in the hospitality industry, more so than anywhere else without tons of formal training.”

Jim Batsford, formerly Executive Director of the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce cites recreation, tourism and hospitality as the service sector having the greatest potential for growth and career opportunity locally.

His assessment is echoed throughout the region. Delaware County has seen an explosion of downstate, second-home owners. According to Glenn Nealis, Director of Economic Development, “It has led to a lot of opportunities for businesses that cater to that market, whether they’re restaurants, motels, bed and breakfasts or places that provide activities.”

Without doubt, that influx of new residents will impact every other aspect of our service economy, ensuring continued career opportunities well into the future.