The Universal Orlando Resort is raising base pay for team members to $15 an hour, effective next month, the resort announced today.
The resort is calling the pay raise "the single-largest wage increase in Universal Orlando history," up from the resort's current starting pay of $13 an hour. Universal also is taking credit for being the first major Orlando-area theme park to raise its hourly base pay to $15. The Walt Disney World Resort's planned increase to a $15 an hour minimum does not take effect until October.
"We are excited about our future and we want team members who will be excited to be part of that journey," Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Universal Parks & Resorts John Sprouls said. "This is about taking care of both our current team members and those who will be joining our team. We know a great guest experience begins with our team members – and we will continue to provide the best work experience we can."
We have been covering the dramatic shift happening right now in America's wage economy, as the rush of employers looking to hire at once has shifted power to workers. With the ability to get multiple job offers as the nation's economy reopens, workers can hold out for better deals rather than having to settle for whatever offer they can get. Closed borders have cut the supply of international workers, and plenty of people who found workable side hustles to make ends meet during the pandemic are not coming back to the job market at all.
Theme parks traditionally have been voracious consumers of minimum wage and near-minimum wage labor, leaving them especially vulnerable to labor shortages if they don't move to react to this change. Parks across the country have been raising pay as they look to staff up for the season. But some parks are trying to get ahead of the market. Ohio's Cedar Point raised its starting wage to $20 an hour and is offering sign-on bonuses to entice people to work at its somewhat remote location on the Lake Erie coast.
Here are links to major theme park companies' job pages:
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