Report: Women in Hospitality Industry Still Not Equal to Male Counterparts

LOS ANGELES—Even though more women are moving into executive spots in the hospitality industry, progress is still uneven, according to a new report.

“We found that one in 22 CEOs is a woman and one in nine presidents is a woman,” said Peggy Berg, a board member at Castell Project. “But, among people with the title owner or president and owner, one in five are women. It’s encouraging that more women are being promoted to president and that more women are becoming owners, but the numbers suggest that women are less likely than men to be selected for promotion unless they own their businesses. Castell Project is working to help women shatter those barriers.”

Released by Castell Project, a nonprofit dedicated to seeing that women are well-represented in hospitality industry leadership, the report, titled “Women in Hospitality Industry Leadership 2018,” outlines not only where career opportunities for women are open, but where these opportunities are limited. The organization used data from the STR Directory of Hotel & Lodging Companies and four hotel investment conferences.

Some main findings from the report include the following:

  • At the CEO level, women are represented at a ratio of one woman to 21 men at hotel companies and one to 10 among CEOs at investment conferences.
  • One in seven presenters at hotel investment conferences is a woman.
  • Women are less likely to be promoted in the fields of investment and development, where success is driven by negotiation. Yet, women are promoted in the sales field, which is also driven by negotiation.
  • Women are near or above parity in human resources, revenue management, and sales and marketing at the executive level within hotel companies.
  • Women are now more than one-third of investment conference representatives at the director level for consulting, legal and brand/franchise companies. As the careers of these women mature, there’s opportunity for them to change the gender balance at higher levels.

“The first step toward improved gender parity within the hospitality industry is to acknowledge the issue exists,” Berg said. “Data-driven companies and broad international studies know that diverse leadership drives higher profits, as it provides a greater range of perspective and experience. By embracing this reality, all stakeholders win.”

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