The hospitality, leisure and travel industry was making progress towards improving gender diversity in senior leadership but the industry lagged behind in ethnic diversity in senior positions.
The Women in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure annual report found that the sector was on course to reach the target of 33% female representation across the three most senior leadership levels by next year.
This year’s report showed that female and black, asian and minority ethnic representation at each of the most senior levels – board, executive committee and direct reports – had increased.
The percentage of women on executive committees had increased across 43% of companies, and at board level, that applied to almost half of companies (47%). NED roles stood out as the one area of the board where there had been significant progress – 36.4% of NEDs in the sector were women.
Gender pay disclosures in the sector showed a marginal improvement overall, with the mean gap 7.6% compared to 8%. A third of employees surveyed believed that diversity and inclusion in their organisation had got better in the past 12 months.
Elliott Goldstein, partner, The MBS Group said: “The Hospitality, Travel and Leisure sector can be immensely proud of the progress it has made over the past year on diversity and inclusion. Through our conversations with the industry’s chairs, CEOs and HR directors for this report, we detected a palpably different level of engagement and progress compared to the previous year – and there have been a number of diverse appointments in key Chair, CEO, SID and NED roles. Whilst there is still a long way to go, we believe that on its current trajectory, the sector as a whole is on course to reach the target of 33% female representation across the three most senior leadership levels by next year.”
There was room for improvement, with 84% of businesses still not on track to reach 33% female representation across all three leadership levels by end of 2020 and less than 10% of chair roles being held by women.
In the area of race and ethnicity, the report described a “step change” needed in the industry. It found that 82.5% of companies had no BAME leaders at board level and just 12.5% of companies were in line with or greater than the UK working age population.