Women will occupy a third of top roles in the hospitality, travel and leisure sectors in the next 12 months, a report has concluded.
The third annual Diversity in HTL: From Intention to Action 2020 report predicts increased numbers of female staff will be appointed at board, executive committee and direct-report level in the coming year after good progress across all three tiers during 2019.
It also reveals how the gender pay gap in the industries has closed slightly. Overall, the gap in the three sectors now averages 7.6% compared with 8% last year.
The report, from Women in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure (WiHTL), was produced with PwC and executive search firm The MBS Group.
Elliott Goldstein, a partner with MBS, said: “While there is still a long way to go, we believe that on its current trajectory, the sector as a whole is on course to reach the target of 33% female representation across the three most senior leadership levels by next year.”
Goldstein added conversations with senior industry figures had detected “a palpably different level of engagement and progress compared with the previous year”.
One area where significant progress has been made is at non-executive director level, with 36.4% of these being women.
However, the research, which is compiled from data from firms with a collective employee base of 1.9 million people, found the greater level of female representation would be concentrated in only a few companies.
The research concluded that 84% of businesses were still not on track to reach 33% female representation across all three leadership levels by the end of 2020; that fewer than 10% of chair roles were held by women; and that 15% of companies profiled still have all-male boards.
WiHTL found the average gender pay gap across hospitality, travel and leisure had fallen just 0.4%, meaning it will take “the best part of another 20 years” before pay parity is reached.
Of the three sectors, travel came out the worst in terms of pay gaps; the mean pay gap was 21.3%, compared with only 10% in the leisure industry.
Travel’s median pay gap, at 20.9%, compared with just 1% in hospitality.
When it came to Bame (black, Asian and minority ethnic) staff, 82.5% of companies had no Bame board members and less than 40% had any representation at direct-report level.
Only 9% of staff reported their firms planned to develop diverse leaders, while only 12% of staff said they had been offered unconscious bias training. Similarly, only a quarter of companies said they had appointed a diversity lead.
Tea Colaianni, founder and chair of WiHTL, said: “Last year’s intentions have been put into actions with tangible results, but the report serves as a reminder that our work has only just begun.”