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Challenges Facing Women in Hospitality Industry

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Friday, 6 March 2015

Diageo, one of the worlds leading drinks companies, has published the findings and recommendations of a White Paper backed by the efforts of key hospitality and tourism industry members, to explore challenges of talent shortages in the sector.

The White Paper entitled Women in Tourism and Hospitality: Unlocking the Potential in the Talent Pool, was produced by the Hospitality Industry Pipeline (HIP) Coalition and was launched at the Women in Tourism and Hospitality Forum in Hong Kong on 5 March 2015.

Established last year, the HIP Coalition brings together leading industry members to identify, share and promote best practice in recruitment, employment, diversity and inclusion. Led by Diageo, other members include Accor Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, Sala Ba Hotel and Restaurant School and CARE International. Research partners are Professor Tom Baum from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and Associate Professor Catherine Cheung from Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Two thirds of the global hospitality industry workforce is comprised of women and 73 million new travel and tourism jobs will be created by 2022. However, the UN World Tourism Organisation asserts that women in this sector are still underpaid, under-utilized, under-educated, and under-represented. We know gender diverse leadership teams deliver better financial performance for companies. The aim of the Coalition and White Paper are to raise awareness of the pressing talent issues facing the hospitality sector and lead the industry to address them through diversity, thereby growing communities and businesses, said Sam Fischer, President Greater China and Asia, Diageo. At Diageo, we are committed to creating shared value by building thriving communities that enable those who live and work in our communities, particularly women, to have the skills and resources to build a better future for themselves. This Coalition is an integral part of our community programme Plan W: Empowering Women through Learning.

Through Plan W, Diageos goal is to empower two million women across all socio-economic profiles by 2017, giving them opportunities to learn and develop skills to be able to influence society and the economy. The recommendations in the White Paper will help harness the opportunities presented in the booming hospitality industry to realise this goal and at the same time address the sectors talent needs and grow the industry in partnership.

Professor Baum, said, Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce and represents one of the main income sources for many developing countries. It also accounts for a significant proportion of economic activity in Asia and as such impacts, and is impacted by, a wide range of stakeholders. These stakeholders have a vested interest in enabling the continued growth of the industry and therefore share the responsibility for a healthy talent pipeline.

From a global perspective, women in hospitality:

Make up close to 70% of the total workforce;
Undertake over 70% of all work in the informal hospitality sector;
Hold less than 40% of all managerial and supervisory positions in the international hospitality industry;
Hold less than 20% of general management roles;
Are identified as owners of less than 20% of hospitality businesses and only around 10% of hotels worldwide;
Make up between 5% and 8% of corporate board members of publically-quoted hospitality businesses.

These statistics show that even though the majority of the hospitality industrys workforce is female, women are still under-represented in senior positions and general management roles.

The imperative to have women in leadership roles is now mainstream, and many multinational companies and sectors have initiatives and objectives which aim to make this possible. However, the hospitality and tourism industry has not yet succeeded in promoting women in significant numbers into leadership positions, added Professor Baum.

The Paper concludes with wide-ranging recommendations, derived from case studies detailing best practices by coalition members and directed at tripartite stakeholders of private sector, government and employee organisations, in order to realise the potential of women in the workplace and to promote the business case for gender equality. The recommendations are largely based on the business proposition for gender equality, which aim to provide a fresh and more strategic approach to the issue.

Diageo, Hong Kong, Women

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