In the years after the global economy fell in 2008, another trend seemed to be on the rise: “hipsters,” a subculture commonly defined by its rejection of all things mainstream. Journalists would have had us believe hipsters were taking over the country one kombucha pop-up and handlebar mustache at a time — and that their presence was partly to blame for the economic distress of the time.
Aside from quirky shopping habits, hipsters were grouped with millennials (those born in 1981 through 1996) as part of “the cheapest generation,” blamed for everything from declining car sales to killing golf. However, the narrative has since changed; conditions once pegged on hipsters are now commonly attributed to the economy as a whole.
While traditional purchases such as cars and houses may have dipped with the hipsters’ rise, other categories, such as tattoos and vegan food, have been on the uptick in the years since 2008. Now that the economy has improved and hipsters have gotten older, we wondered: how have job searches associated with hipster-friendly trends fared?
Hipster job searches are on the rise
Since the post-recession hipster heyday began, this group has most often been associated with a few key trends, including: yoga; organic and vegan food; vintage, funky personal style; and anything with the words “small batch” or “craft” in the title.
To learn more about employment in these sectors, we dug into Indeed data on jobs connected to hipster stereotypes. We analyzed jobs and job searches that included variations of the following keywords (chosen for their commonly understood inclusion in the hipster vernacular): “organic”; “vegan”; “coffee”; “vintage”; “yoga”; “pop up”; “craft”; “tattoo”; and “distillery.” Here’s what we found:
The recession may be over, but job searches with hipster keywords are actually on the rise. Between 2015 and 2018, job searches including some combination of the terms listed above increased by 57%.*
Yoga is the most popular hipster job-search term
Next, we analyzed the data to identify the five most popular terms from the list above:
Of the top five search terms, “yoga” wins by a landslide. Practicing yoga continues to gain popularity in the broader culture, and many studios offer their own teacher training, effectively creating a student-to-instructor pipeline. In fact, the wellness industry as a whole is booming — it grew 12.8% from 2015 to 2017, and was worth $4.2 trillion in 2018.
The second-most popular hipster job-search keyword is “tattoo.” This industry generated $1.6 billion in revenue last year, thanks not only to the growing popularity of tattoos (47% of people age 18 to 35 have at least one), but also to an increased demand for pricey custom tattoo work.
Keywords related to the food and beverage industry rounded out the top-five list. In third place was “vegan,” followed by “distillery” and “craft beer.”
Bartending is the most widely available hipster job
It turns out that the most popular search terms don’t necessarily align with the most broadly available jobs. For this data set, in addition to our initial list of keywords for hipster jobs, searches for “chef” and “bartender” jobs were included. (This is because search terms such as “craft beer” or “pop up” are not included in the names of actual positions, whereas “bartender” or “chef” are.)
When it comes to hipster positions with the highest numbers of job postings, the top three are all in the food service industry: bartenders, chefs and baristas. This reflects a larger trend of growth in food service jobs in the U.S. economy: from 2018 to 2019, they grew by almost 6%.
Coming in next in terms of overall job postings are positions for yoga teachers and tattoo artists; this reflects the popularity of these trends both among hipsters and in the economy as a whole.**
Where are people looking for hipster jobs?
To learn where in the U.S. the highest number of hipster job searches are taking place, we analyzed search data by city from July to Dec. 2018. We looked at searches containing the keywords “organic food,” “vegan,” “specialty coffee,” “yoga,” “craft beer,” “tattoo” and “distillery” across the U.S.**
Interestingly, Brooklyn and San Francisco, which have topped lists of hipster-friendly cities for years, are nowhere to be seen. However, these cities are also some of the most expensive in the U.S., which is one driver of the mass exodus from New York and the Bay Area that has been underway for some time. It appears hipsters are moving on to greener (and often less costly) pastures.
In our geographical analysis of hipster job searches, Boulder, Colorado is the city that most frequently appears. Boulder is among the the top five cities to search for the following terms: “organic food,” “vegan,” “specialty coffee,” “yoga” and “craft beer.”
California is also home to many hipster job seekers, with Santa Cruz and San Diego both popular locations for jobs containing hipster search terms. Santa Cruz appears in the top five cities where searchers are looking for jobs in “organic food,” “specialty coffee” and “yoga.” And San Diegans are among the top searchers for “vegan,” “yoga” and “craft beer” jobs.
In the east, Burlington, Vermont is one of the top cities where job seekers are looking for jobs using the keywords “specialty coffee” and “craft beer.” And Louisville, Kentucky — famously known as Bourbon country—is the number-one place job searchers are looking for “distillery” jobs.
A hip future
With the economy and job preferences changing constantly, it’s impossible to tell what will endure over the next decade and beyond. But the growth in hipster jobs shows that even things that appear trendy can have staying power. We’ll drink another pour-over coffee and keep our eyes on this unique market.
Hipster searches were defined as containing:
“Organic” and any of (“farm”, “farming”, “farmer”, “garden”, “food”, “gardening”, “gardener”, “wellbeing”, “cafe”)
“Coffee” and any of (“independent”, “specialty”, “speciality”, “artisan”, “roaster”)
“Vintage” and any of (“shop”, “store”, “fashion”, “clothes”, “clothing”, “boutique”)
“Pop” & “up” and NOT containing “Disney”
“Craft” and any of (“beer”, “brewery”, “brewing”)
“Tattoo” and NOT (“removal”, “friendly”)
**Methodology: We analyzed job searches with the following terms: organic food, vegan, specialty coffee, yoga and craft beer. Then we looked at the top five cities these searches occurred in. This map is a selection of those cities. If a search term is listed for that city, it means that the city is in the top five cities searching for that term in the US.