For 16 consecutive years, Bristol Associates and Spectrum Gaming Group have surveyed casino gaming executives from around the country about their career goals, job satisfaction and outlook on the industry. The data gathered provides insight into the factors that are most important to executives when pursuing a new position and their perception of the casino gaming industry as a whole. This year there were over 1,300 responses—the highest number of participants in the survey since its inception. Their responses to questions included:

Where do gaming executives want to work? For the first time in 16 years of the executive satisfaction survey, two casino operators effectively tied for first place, with Seminole Tribe of Florida edging out Penn National Gaming by just three votes. Seminole Tribe of Florida and Penn National Gaming each garnered 26 percent of respondent’s votes for employer of first choice.

Are executives optimistic about their career? Career optimism remains steady. When asked the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “I am optimistic about the future of my career,” on average respondents fell in the range of “Somewhat Agree” to “Agree.” This upward trend has continued since career optimism reached its historical low in 2010.

What regions are executives excited about? With the exception of Atlantic City, every region has seen a decline in optimism year-over-year. When asked to what degree they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “[The Region] offers opportunities for career advancement,” on average, respondents perceived Las Vegas as having the most opportunities with an average score of 3.48—representing a response between “Neutral” and “Somewhat Agree.”

How does tenure affect job satisfaction? Executives have a better opinion of their company earlier in their career. When asked how much they agreed that their company is working hard to keep staff, management and them satisfied, respondents with five years or fewer of experience agreed with the statements more than any other group.

Across all groups, respondents agreed most that their company strives to keep its staff satisfied. This drops when asked the same question for management and for respondents personally.

What factors are important in considering new opportunities? Respondents were asked to rank five common factors influencing a move to a new position in order of priority, where five reflects the highest priority. Respondents ranked “Compensation” as the most important factor, at an average score of 3.7, and “Career Opportunity” following at a close second at 3.5. The least important factor was “Weather and Lifestyle” with an average score of 2.6.

“The amount of job opportunities within the casino industry has increased as of late, however, the market is still extremely competitive,” said Ben Farber, president of Bristol Associates. “As a result, many of the executives we have placed this year have sacrificed weather and lifestyle in order to rise in the ranks and obtain a higher salary.”