Travel leaders must start taking ownership of a diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy in their organisation, as too few leaders in the sector are treating the issue as a genuine concern.
That was the warning from PwC’s UK diversity and inclusion consulting leader Jon Terry, speaking at the TTG Diversity & Inclusion in Travel conference.
Referencing the findings of the first-of-its-kind survey by PwC and TTG Media analysing D&I (sign in required), Terry said the results were “by no means a disaster”, but cautioned there is “an awfully long way to go”.
“In an industry where the consumer is everything, D&I increasingly means more and more to them,” he added.
Advising travel businesses on how they could improve their focus on D&I, he urged senior leaders to do more than simply “put up Pride flags” and instead take ownership of the issue.
“Make D&I business-critical,” he urged delegates. “Go back to the workplace and ask to see what your company’s D&I action plan is. It’s the only way you can accelerate progress.”
Without data, he pointed out, D&I strategies were futile. “Over 80% of travel chief executives surveyed said they don’t believe D&I was a barrier to progression in their organisation, yet only 20% said they collect data on this.
“How the hell can you know if there’s an issue if you don’t collect the data? And it’s not just about counting the number of ethnically diverse people – look at what the talent progression is. Does a black woman take longer to get promoted? If you don’t know the answer then you’re just playing at it [D&I].”
Terry said companies should be open about D&I targets. “Making targets public holds people to account. Telling it how it is is so important.”
Terry also acknowledged the predominantly female audience and urged attendees to “bring people like me – older white men – to conferences like this”.
“You need these men to be change agents in your business,” he said. “You need men in your business rolling up their sleeves and working with you.”