June 13, 2024
English TKP News

New WTTC Report Finds Leisure Travel Industry Faces Huge Gender Imbalance

New research looking at publicly listed companies has revealed that the leisure travel industry is facing a major diversity disparity, with only 7 percent of the top executive spots held by women, a stark contrast to the 50-50 gender balance of the overall workforce.

The first report of the series, “The Numbers Behind Women in Leadership: Leisure,” which was carried out by private advisory firm Aptamind Partners and is supported by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), drew on publicly available data from the world’s largest hotel groups, casinos and entertainment companies, shows that the gender gap widens the higher up the career ladder you climb.

From a 50 percent overall balance across the leisure industry’s workforce, the percentage of women drops to 42 percent in mid-level management and 33 percent at senior management. At the C-Suite level, only one in five executives are women, plummeting to 7 percent at the very top. The casino and entertainment industry outshines hotels, with three female CEOs and four female chairs, but the competition is far from stiff.

A marginal improvement in the percentage of female executives in the hotel sector has failed to translate into more women in leadership and senior roles. In fact, Alison Brittain, who was the sole female representative in the CEO group at the time of this report at Whitbread, left her position in January 2023 to take over as chairman of the Premier League, leaving major hotel chains with zero women holding the top CEO and chair spots.

On the other hand, the WTTC report shows that change is possible and can be clearly seen in the percentage of women on the boards of leisure companies, which has grown from 17 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2022. More recently, the number of female chairs of the boards of casino and entertainment companies has grown from 6 percent to 12 percent between 2019 and 2021, and the number of female CEOs in that group increased from 3 percent to 9 percent over the same period.

“While some progress has been made in the last two years, there is still a huge amount of work to be done,” said Aradhana Khowala, CEO of Aptamind Partners and author of the report. “We need a wholesale shift in the way we think and talk about gender and leadership. And we need to go beyond well-meaning initiatives and box-ticking exercises and start taking concrete steps to redress the current imbalance.”

“One of the major barriers to improving gender diversity is the lack of insightful and robust data in the public domain,” Khowala said. “We cannot wait any longer for the arc of history to bend the right way on its own. We need to benchmark where we are at so we can push forward together with concerted, collective action.”

Julia Simpson, president and CEO of the WTTC (pictured above), added that the issue goes beyond equity and fairness. “Companies need to hold themselves accountable to guarantee progress is made over time,” she said. “Putting women on center stage of travel and tourism will ensure a better future for the sector.”

The report offers six steps the leisure travel industry can take to get more women into leadership positions, including better disclosure and regular reporting, independent regulation and verification, and incentivizing and holding leadership accountable for progress on gender diversity.

The report is the first of a series of four publications that analyzes the female presence at high-level roles within different travel and tourism industries, such as leisure, aviation, cruise and OTAs, and food and beverage. To access the report, click on Women in Leadership-Leisure. For more information, visit www.wttc.org.

Source : Inside Travel Report J.Shillinglaw

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