Home News & Features The Castell Project Releases ‘Black Representation in Hospitality Industry Leadership 2020’ Report

The Castell Project Releases ‘Black Representation in Hospitality Industry Leadership 2020’ Report


ATLANTA—Officials of Castell Project, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry, released the “Black Representation in Hospitality Leadership 2020” report. The statistical document reflects the industry prior to the ongoing pandemic. Castell Project plans to release an updated report in January to show the impact on Black representation as the industry rehires.

“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, Inc. “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. Each website was reviewed twice, and LinkedIn was used to verify some entries. Identification was made by visual inspection, and self-identification could vary. 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.

Highlights of the Report

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Compared to the hospitality industry, which shows 1.5 percent of executive roles being held by Black people, Korn Ferry reports that they hold five percent of executive positions across all industries and four percent of executive positions at S&P 500 companies.

“Diversity in leadership has not been a high priority for the hospitality industry,” Berg added. “With attention now, however, it can shape the future. This means being mindful of the post-coronavirus racial makeup of organizations and implementing best practices modeled by leading companies that have successfully diversified leadership across the economy.”

A full copy of the report can be found on the Castell Project website at www.castellproject.org.