Castell Project, Inc. this past week released an important report you should read and act upon. In case you are not familiar with Castell Project, it is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry. The report, “Black Representation in Hospitality Leadership 2020”, focuses on both men and women and reflects the industry prior to the ongoing pandemic.
Findings in the report are startling and the report could have been titled, “The Embarrassing Lack of Black Representation in Hospitality Leadership 2020.”
“While Black women and men account for one in five hospitality jobs according to the US Department of Labor, our research found they are a mere one in 65 hospitality industry executives at the director level or higher. This is the public face of the industry shown on corporate websites,” said Peggy Berg, Chair, Castell Project. “The hospitality industry has long told the story that anyone can start at an entry level position and reach leadership through sweat and hard work. Unfortunately, the numbers do not show this to be true for Black employees. We hope the statistics in this report will support negotiations and a real commitment to open opportunity to Black men and women.”
Three analysts captured information from the websites of hotel companies listed in the STR Directory of Hotel & Lodging Companies. Data includes 630 hotel companies drawn from 971 companies that are based in the United States or Canada. The sample set has a minimum of five hotels and/or 700 rooms. The dataset includes 6,302 people.
Findings in the Report
- Eighty-four percent of the 630 hotel company websites reviewed for this study do not show any Black executives on their websites, while only 102, or 16 percent, showed a Black employee at the director level or above.
- Black executives represent 1.5 percent of hospitality industry executives at the director level or above on company websites, which is 12.5 times below their proportionate share of hospitality industry employment.
- Compared to the hospitality industry, which shows 1.5 percent of executive roles being held by Black people, Korn Ferry reports that they hold 5 percent of executive positions across all industries and 4 percent of executive positions at S&P 500 companies.
“Diversity in leadership has not been a high priority for the hospitality industry,” Berg said.
My reading over the years has found there are numerous companies doing much better than these numbers reflect but overall our industry should be embarrassed by the findings in this report. Many of you are failing, not even trying, and probably even impeding (intentionally or not) the career paths of folks who just happen to be Black.
The report states in its introduction, “The statistics shown in Black Representation
in Hospitality Industry Leadership 2020 could only occur in an industry that is structurally biased against Black employees.”
“Hospitality is even more dependent on Black employees than other industries in North America so equity, equality and inclusion are vitally important,” the report adds.
No surprise, Black women are far less likely than Black men to reach the very tops of hospitality organizations. “Most Black CEO/Presidents are men (86 percent), while Black women represent 14 percent of Black CEO/Presidents or 0.1 percent of all industry CEO/Presidents,” the report says.
The report is of course timely given all that has been happening in the news lately.
A full copy of the report can be found on the Castell Project website at www.castellproject.org.
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