The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) has released a new report on career opportunities in the $689 billion outdoor recreation sector to help industry leaders, policymakers and potential workers understand how these jobs provide a great quality of life, support conservation goals, strengthen local economies and connect Americans to the great outdoors.
“The backbone of this thriving sector is a growing workforce that meets the dynamic demands of today’s fast-paced industry,” said Jessica Turner, President of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “There are so many quality jobs in the outdoor recreation industry right now for professionals with a variety of skills that make for excellent careers throughout life and we want to highlight those opportunities in this report.”
The report was published in partnership with the Oregon State University Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy. “While professionals from across the country are taking on roles in this exciting industry that supports a conservation ethos and enables a high quality of life, we also know that there is a growing skills gap in the outdoor workforce and that there are thousands of job openings (for example 31,000 in the marine industry alone) available to people who want lifelong and meaningful careers,” added Lee Davis, executive director of the Oregon State University Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy (CORE).
Some highlights from the report:
Deep and varied jobs: The report illustrates the breadth, depth and diversity of the workforce in the outdoor recreation industry, which collectively encompasses over 4.3 million good jobs that help develop economies, increase rural prosperity, improve public health outcomes and quality of life and contribute to the promotion of environmental responsibility and conservation. The report breaks outdoor jobs into three categories: “Technical Specialists,” “Participant-Oriented,” and “Integrators” to help the public understand the types of career paths for people with and without a graduate degree.
High quality career opportunities: The report also seeks to dispel misconceptions among the public and policy makers about the types and diversity of jobs in the outdoor leisure industry.
As a reorganized sector that includes well over 110,000 small, medium and Fortune 500 companies across America, many professional and technical careers are invisible or unknown in nature to the general public. Most participants in outdoor recreation activities interact only with consumer-facing employees, including retail and hospitality workers, tour guides and outfitters, park and campground attendants, and concessionaires who sell food, beverages, supplies, and souvenirs at recreation hotspots. While these essential jobs certainly make up a portion of jobs in the outdoor recreation industry, there are also millions of full-time professional and technical jobs in the industry that are lesser known and offer competitive wages and meaningful careers. Today’s report helps illustrate the breadth of these roles.
Outdoor recreation is a growing industry: Several factors have led to significant growth in the outdoor recreation industry in recent years, with a corresponding increase in the number of jobs across the country, including in rural areas that are shifting away from resource extraction and other industries and towards recreation focus.
Read the full report here.