Hungry for Zen: Hipster Culture Drives Surge in Yoga and Vegan Job Searches

The term “hipster” is nothing new – someone who follows the latest trends, especially those that are deemed unconventional. However, the eccentric subculture has become so trendy that it’s left the “alternative’ sidelines and entered the mainstream. So much so that the growing popularity of the hipster culture has sparked a mini job boom.

Hipsters now boast such a prominent presence in Canadian society that their fondness for coffee, yoga and tattoos has ignited a “hipster service economy,” fueling demand for such jobs as baristas, tattoo artists and yoga instructors to cater to these tastes.

We wanted to dig a little deeper into how the rise of the hipster culture has impacted the Canadian labour market. Specifically, what job trends have emerged to produce, what we call, the hipster economy? Here’s what we found:

Hipster search terms grew 91% between 2015 and 2018 in Canada

As of December 2018, there were 651 job searches per one million in Canada for hipster jobs, up 91% since January 2015. Hipsters’ affinity for such products as coffee and craft beer has inspired them to not only be consumers but to earn a living in these industries as well.

Millennials are no doubt driving the demand for these roles. Interestingly, these jobs – bartender, tattoo artist, chef – have been around for decades, yet they’ve only recently become some of the most in-demand occupations.  

In an article by MarketWatch, sociologist Richard Ocejo notes that millennials tend to favour “experiences and specialized forms of consumption over generic and mass-produced products…That created the consumer base for these jobs, and it’s where a lot of consumption has gone lately.” From a career standpoint, occupations in these fields allow them to work with material things and be creative – aspects that are becoming less common in the digital age. 

Searches for “yoga” surge in 2018

“Yoga” is the most searched hipster job, with 367 searches per one million in the second half of 2018. This is more than three times the amount of searches that were conducted for the second most searched term on our list, “Vegan.” Health Canada’s recent advice to eat less meat and dairy and more plant-based food could further spur the vegan trend.

“Tattoo” ranks third on the list of most searched job term. Tattoos have become increasingly popular among millennials. Popular reality TV series (Inked, LA Ink, Ink Masters, to name a few) also helped promote the trade, bringing tattoo culture to the forefront. As the stigma continues to fade against those with tattoos, employees have begun uncovering their tattoos in the workplace.

Rounding the list are two beer-related roles, “Craft Beer” ranking fourth and “Distillery” at number five. The craft beer craze has become so popular that, between 2013 to 2017, 817 new breweries opened  in Canada, according to Beer Canada, up nearly 18% between 2016 and 2017.

Practically all of the jobs on our list don’t require a degree, but rather formal training and apprenticeships. Some of these roles have become far more specialized over the years – bartenders can earn their title as “mixologists” while the person behind the cafe counter can boast the title of “barista.” It’s more than just a job – it’s a craft. As they continue to hone their skills, they can become masters in their trade. Harkening back to Ocejo, this craft movement is an important quality of a hipster job.

Due to increased consumption of these goods and services, the demand for these jobs has been met with an increased supply of job postings.

“Chef” had, by far, the most job postings in 2018, likely a result of the burgeoning restaurant scenes in Canada. “Bartender” ranks second, while barista rounds the top three. Young people continue to cut back on alcohol, opting for a more health-conscious lifestyle. This has contributed to a surge in the coffee shop culture, benefitting both independent artisan cafés and multinational chains.

There’s also consistency between popular searches and popular job postings – yoga (number four) and tattoo (number 5) round the list for jobs with the most postings.

How long do people stay in hipster roles?

While job hopping has become the new normal, the most popular hipster jobs witness high turnover.

Tattoo artists tend to stay in their roles longer, averaging nearly four years, while people stay in yoga-related roles for just over three years. All other popular hipster positions – including those related to craft beer, coffee, distillery, organic and vegan – experience the most turnover, with employees staying in their roles for less than two years.

The tightening labour market could be contributing to the turnover. The current low unemployment levels have allowed job seekers to pursue careers that they are passionate about, not just jobs that pay well. The tight labour market also requires employers to fight hard to attract – and retain – talent by offering them higher pay and perks.

 

Methodology

Pulled searches and postings per million for the terms relating to “organic”, “vegan”,”coffee”, “vintage”, “yoga”, “pop up”, “craft beer”, “tattoo” and “distillery” between January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2019. To identify how long people stay in hipster jobs, we leveraged resume data and calculated the average length of time these users stayed in that position.