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Industry Leadership Positions Still Difficult for Women to Reach


Women in Hospitality Leadership 2017, a report by AHLA Women in Lodging and Castell Project, details the leadership progress of women in the hospitality industry and the lack thereof. Be sure to read this important report found here.

According to the report, in the hospitality industry, as of 2016, men have been 10 times more likely to be promoted to the principal/partner or president levels than women, four times more likely to be promoted to the EVP/group president level and more than twice as likely to be promoted to the senior VP, VP, or district level.

Women did make some progress from 2012 to 2016. One example: Women in 2016 made up 20 percent of EVP/Group President positions compared to 16 percent in 2012. Yet, the report says, “The hospitality industry, in spite of its dependence on women, lags other industries.” “The preference for promoting men at all levels suggests gender bias against women,” the report adds.

It is more than just gender bias, however. “Statistics for the hospitality industry suggest that departments which have been unsuccessful at promoting women into leadership are also unsuccessful at recruiting women,” the report says.

The researchers examined the attendance at the four major hotel investment conferences. Only 21 percent of attendees on the pre-conference rosters were women in 2016 to 2017. Fifteen percent of speakers were women, less than their pro rata share of attendees. The researchers also examined the percentage of women by specialty areas: architecture and design, construction, etc. Not surprisingly, women are also not well represented in most leadership positions in the specialty areas of hospitality.

With all of the bad news today about how women are treated in general, Women in Hospitality Leadership offers some hope, but very little, to women aspiring to grow in their hospitality careers.