Press Room

Survey results show workforce opportunities and challenges for Maine’s outdoor industry

PORTLAND, Maine (May 5, 2021) – A Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB) member survey, in partnership with the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation, found that while employers in Maine’s outdoor industry are attracting a younger workforce, it remains difficult to fill open positions. A survey was conducted in early 2021 by the Survey Research Center at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. Key takeaways include:

  • Half of new hires reported by outdoor industry employers are under the age of 35.
  • 71% of respondents reported difficulty finding qualified applicants for open positions.
  • 60% of companies surveyed either maintained or grew staff during the pandemic.
  • The types of positions most in demand in the next five years by outdoor industry companies include roles in marketing, customer service/hospitality, and guiding.
  • It has been hardest for employers to fill manufacturing related roles, followed by marketing roles.
  • Referrals and social media were reported as the top ways outdoor industry employers recruit for open positions.

The outdoor recreation industry in Maine supports more than 40,000 jobs – from positions in manufacturing, product design, engineering, sales, guiding, and more. At 4.2%, outdoor recreation makes up a larger percentage of Maine’s economy than almost any other state, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The survey was intended to achieve three primary purposes:

  • To gain a better understanding of the workforce needs of Maine’s outdoor industry over the next five years,
  • To gain a better understanding of the positions that are the most difficult to fill, and
  • To gather information to help align education and training programs in Maine with employer workforce needs.

“Maine’s outdoor industry is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for outdoor goods and services brought on by the pandemic, but we need workers to do it. This survey pinpoints the most in demand jobs across the industry and helps us identify the best opportunities to collectively recruit and train future employees,” said Jenny Kordick, Executive Director of Maine Outdoor Brands. “We look forward to working with our members and partners around the state to attract and train the talent that our industry needs to thrive.”

Full results are available here.

Formed in 2017, Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB) works to unite and provide a voice for Maine’s outdoor industry in order to strengthen Maine’s outdoor recreation brand and economy. MOB is committed to seeing Maine-based outdoor product, service, and retail brands thrive. To learn more and see brands involved visit