Hipsters: Hype or Helpful to the Jobs Market?

The jobs market is driven, much as the wider economy is, by the twin forces of supply and demand.

When there is demand for a certain good or service, companies will seek to supply it. This then creates a demand for staff, which people then meet by supplying their labour.

So far, so textbook. But in the real world, trends in consumer behaviour and broader societal attitudes can have as dramatic an impact on the jobs market as macroeconomics or migration.

The rapid rise of the hipster, and the impact this group has had on the jobs market, is a case in point. It also raises the tricky question of whether something can truly be described as hipster once it becomes a mainstream, national phenomenon.

Who actually are the hipsters?

By definition, hipsters eschew mainstream culture. Yet in an ironic twist, hipster culture has become so sought after that much of it has been assimilated into wider society.

Whether there are more hipsters now, or hipster culture has just gone mainstream is a moot point. Either way, a mini jobs boom is underway as jobs opportunities are being created in industries catering to hipsters’ tastes.

Indeed identified four particular areas where hipster tastes are most prevalent, and have had the most impact on jobs: tattoo parlours, coffee shop culture, yoga classes and drinking habits.

Hipsters for many are both trendsetters – driving progress and innovation – and early adopters of what often becomes popular and mainstream. In terms of that crossover, the hipster fingerprints are all over the ongoing booms we are seeing in tattoos, yoga, coffee and more individual, artisanal drinks.

If we use the above criteria to put together a hipster lens through which to examine job opportunities and trends, we can start to draw a direct link between hipster activity and its effect on the jobs market.

Opportunity knocks

Data from Indeed clearly shows how jobs related to hipsters have boomed in the last few years.

As a proportion of all postings on Indeed, the number of roles being advertised for yoga teachers, baristas, tattoo artists and bartenders has soared in the past four years.

The opportunities to work in any of these positions have boomed since 2015, a rise stimulated by the continued growth of British hipsters.

Taking the average postings per million over the course of each year, the cumulative increase in job opportunities for baristas in the last four years is 181.2%, with bartenders (145.49%), tattoo artists (117.29%) and yoga teachers (69.86%) similarly highly sought after.

Coffee sector enjoys caffeine jolt

There are numerous theories as to why postings in each of these four industries may have surged recently, many of which can be tied to the broader hipster movement.

Their attitudes and tastes, many of which have crossed over into the mainstream, have essentially created an entire ‘hipster service economy,’ and the jobs market has responded accordingly.

A recent study by University College London revealed that far fewer millennials are drinking alcohol than previous generations; a trend which has helped drive a surge in the country’s already-booming coffee shop culture, with both independent artisan cafés and multinational chains benefitting.

Coffee has, of course, long been mainstream as opposed to hipster – Starbucks arrived in the UK more than 20 years ago – but an influx of more artisanal providers offering a premium and bespoke take on the product has somewhat tinged attitudes towards the major chains in particular.

However, where independent coffee shops stole a march through their authenticity and the greater variety and quality of drinks offered, the chains have fought back and essentially co-opted that culture as their own.

Servicing both hipsters and regular punters alike, the coffee shop sector in the UK is booming thanks to the now all-pervasive hipster culture.

From yoga studios to gin bars

Job opportunities for yoga teachers have also soared, as have postings for bartenders – a demand that can be attributed in part to the microbrewery and artisan distillery boom, both largely fuelled by hipster tastemakers.

The number of distilleries in the UK has nearly doubled in the last five years, driving a 20% rise in total gin sales – and making the gin market alone worth £1.2 billion.

Artisan coffee in the day, bespoke herb-infused gin in the evening seems to be on the menu of choice for hipsters, but this has only served to encourage wider society to indulge similar interests.

While not solely the preserve of hipsters, tattoos have soared in popularity in recent years. In the decade to 2014, the number of parlours across the UK had almost tripled but Indeed’s data suggests that demand for tattoos has seen jobs in that sector continue to rise, more than doubling in the last four years.

Willing workers

Indeed’s research also found that where opportunity presents itself, jobseekers come looking. The effect of hipster-influenced roles on the jobs market is a two-way street; just as employers need more staff, so too jobseekers are increasingly keen.

Jobseeker interest in the roles directly affected by hipsters has more than doubled in the last four years, climbing from 205 searches per million in January 2015 to 469 searches per million in December 2018.

These roles can bring financial reward, as well as job satisfaction. Tattoo artists on average can expect to make £44.10 per hour, with yoga teachers typically earning £21.98 per hour – well above the national average of £15.37 per hour. However baristas (£8.10 per hour) and bartenders (£8.53 per hour) still lag behind in the pay stakes.

Ultimately, it is clear that the impact of hipsters has driven a significant spike in the jobs market.

Whether it is strictly a ‘hipster service economy’ – in other words, jobs that service the needs of hipsters themselves – or whether it is simply a case of traditionally hipster attitudes becoming mainstream, both employers and jobseekers alike are benefitting from the change.

Either way, it is worth keeping an eye on the next trend that hipster tastemakers alight on, as it could give a clue to where the next mini jobs boom might lie.