How will the hospitality industry address its gender pay gap?
Friday, March 23, 2018
We have a long way to go before we can claim that the gender gap in the hospitality industry is no longer a yawning one.
Gecko Hospitality recently released its 2017 Hospitality Management and Restaurant Salary Survey, and it shows that both the starting salary and bonuses are considerably higher for men than women. The gap has existed for decades, but what's surprising is that even it continues to be a huge one today.
The gender pay gap is pervasive across travel and hospitality businesses. Data collected across these industries show that men made an average of $4,728 per year more than women. And women are paid $0.76 less per hour than men on average. Only 10 percent of the measured categories display otherwise.
On a positive note, the survey revealed that 37 percent of women in management positions received an increase in salary, compared to 31 percent of men.
Gecko's annual reports serve as a benchmark for the industry. Based on these results, employers in these industries should make changes in their workforce. This will help them attract and retain top talent in future.
Another report released by Castell Project and the American Hospitality & Lodging Association's Women in Lodging forum showed the same dire figures. The percentage of women holding CEO positions in hospitality remained at 5 percent between 2012 and 2016. There was only a 1 percent increase in hotel president roles held by women.
Some say that long-standing traditions and generational issues are behind the lack of diversity. The gap is more extensive in areas like luxury and finance than others.
Though the numbers aren't as encouraging as we want them to be, there has been a definite shift. With more women entering the industry than they did decades ago, a robust pipeline is being built up.
In the '70s and '80s, a handful of women enrolled in hospitality schools. Today, almost 70 percent of hospitality students are women. The change is slow, but it's happening. However, this change must come from the top. Hospitality leaders must make concerted diversity efforts and tone down the generational biases.
Women entering hospitality companies today are less inhibited and discouraged by gender traditions. A slow and steady rise of women CEOs means that there is a strong focus on creating an environment of balance and family-friendly flexibility. They now have more opportunities for leadership roles than before.
While most hotels are lagging in this area, Marriott and Hilton are proving to be exceptions. Both brands ranked high on Fortune magazine's 2017 list of "100 Best Workplaces for Women." Marriott, for example, has a healthy percentage of women leaders, while Hilton has proven to be a leader in diversity within its ranks.
Others should follow their example if they want to attract and retain the best talent. They must do more than talk about diversity and inclusion. They have to hire the smartest and most adept people to be a part of their workforce, and that conversation is incomplete without women.
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