Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure (WiHTL) has launched a new programme to support those from ethnic minority backgrounds to become future industry leaders.
The programme – launched last week in partnership with McDonald’s UK and Ireland – draws upon the skills and experience of WiHTL’s community and aims to improve representation through identifying and investing in existing high-potential ethnic minorities employees.
It will also seek to create opportunities for participants to learn from inspiring ethnically diverse industry role models and work with leaders across the industry to support their career progression.
WiHTL said that while there is ethnic diversity at entry-level roles across the hospitality and leisure sector, research showed that at senior level ethnic representation does not reflect that of society and the Bame (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) working age population.
In its 2020 report, WiHTL found 83% of companies had no Bame leaders at board level and just 13% of companies are in line with or greater than the UK working age population.
More than 40% of hospitality and leisure companies have no Bame representation at all at direct report level and more than 80% have no Bame leaders on their executive committee.
WiHTL founder and chair, Tea Colaianni, said: “Collaboration is at the heart of everything that we do and the inaugural, first of its kind Ethnic Minority Future Leaders Programme is the most impactful example of collaboration in action ever seen across the hospitality, travel and leisure industry in the D&I space.
“It was truly inspiring to see over 20 companies joining forces to develop our future talent from an ethnic minority background, engaging with line managers, senior executive reverse mentees and executive sponsors to create lasting connections, starting a change process for the good of our industry and broader society, championing the cause for inclusion and challenge behaviours that exclude rather than include.
“Conversations about race are not easy, but together we can create a lasting positive impact on our industry."
There are 40 “high-potential” ethnic minority leaders taking part in the programme from nearly 20 brands including Airbnb, Bourne Leisure, Hilton, IAG, IHG, Scott Dunn and Virgin Atlantic.
The programme also includes sessions for the line manager of each participant as well as a reverse mentoring programme where the programme participants will mentor a senior leader in a different organisation to their own.