A new survey of listed companies has found stark disparities in the leisure industry, with only 7 percent of management positions held by women, a stark contrast to the 50-50 gender split in the workforce.
The first report in the series, The Numbers Behind Women in Leadership: Time Out, carried out by private consultant Aptamind Partners and supported by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), was based on publicly available data on the main leaders of the world’s hotel groups, casinos, and entertainment companies and showed that the gender gap widens the higher you climb the career ladder.
Out of 50 percent of the total labour force in the leisure industry, the proportion of women in middle management falls to
42 percent, and among senior managers, 33 percent. At the C-suite level, only one in five managers is a woman.
The casino and entertainment industry is ahead of hotels with three female CEOs and four female chairs, but the competition is nowhere near as tough.
The marginal improvement in the proportion of female managers in the hotel sector did not lead to an increase in the number of women in managerial and administrative positions. In fact, Alison Brittain, who was the only female representative of the CEO group at the time of this report, left her role in January 2023, leaving no female CEO or manager at any of PLC’s major hotel chains.
However, the report shows that change is possible, and this is clearly seen in the proportion of women on leisure business boards, which has increased from 17% in 2007 to 28% in 2022. There is still a lot of work to be done. done in the last two years. We need a far-reaching shift in how we think and talk about gender and leadership. And we must go beyond well-intentioned initiatives and box-office exercises and take concrete actions to correct the current imbalances.
One of the biggest obstacles to improving gender diversity is the lack of clear and reliable information in the public domain. We can no longer wait for the arc of history to return to its proper course. We need to assess where we are so we can move forward by working together.
Aradhana Khowala, CEO of Aptamind Partners, and author of the report.
Recently, the number of female board chairmen of casino and entertainment companies increased from 6% to 12% from 2019 to 2021, and the number of female CEOs in the group also increased from 2019 on, from 3% to 9% in the same time period.
This matter goes beyond justice and fairness. Companies must be held accountable to ensure progress over time.Putting women at the heart of travel and tourism will ensure a better future for the industry.
Julia Simpson, CEO of WTTC
The report offers six steps the leisure industry can take to get more women into leadership roles, including better information and regular reporting, independent regulation and scrutiny, and encouraging and holding management accountable for promoting gender diversity.
The report is the first in a four-issue series analysing the presence of women in senior roles across travel and tourism sectors, including leisure, air travel, cruises, OTA, and food and drink.
Click here to view the report.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) represents the global private travel and tourism industry. Members include 200 CEOs, presidents, and directors of the world’s leading travel and tourism companies from all geographies and all industries. For more than 30 years, WTTC has been dedicated to raising awareness among governments and the public about the economic and social importance of travel and tourism.