Does Your Company Walk the Diversity Talk?

Many workplaces pride themselves on being promoters of gender diversity and inclusion, but how many of our own employers have female leaders, managers or CEOs?

If you were to list the names of your employer’s current senior leaders, how many of them would be female? How many travel industry companies actually Walk the Diversity Talk?

According to the Women’s Bureau of the United States Department of Labor, not many. Women continue to be underrepresented in the highest paying occupations and women make up less than 1 in 3 chief executives overall, their statistics show. Although the wage gap issue has received extensive media coverage and people continue to discuss equality in pay (#equalpay), where is the glass ceiling in the travel industry?

While overall numbers specifically for the travel industry are hard to find, according to hospitality advisory firm AETHOS Consulting Group’s 2015 Hotel CEO Turnover Study, “No matter where you are in the world, the CEO is likely to be a man in his early fifties and degree educated.”

The Centre for Aviation (CAPA) reported last year that 94% of airlines are run by men. In 2010, there were 15 airlines that promoted women to the role of CEO or Managing Director. The number in 2015 was just 18.

When reviewing statistics for all industries on a global scale, senior business leadership that is female stands at 24%, according to a survey of more than 5,000 companies by Grant Thornton of London announced in March. The number of firms with no women in senior management positions is up slighting from 2015 – 33% compared to 32% last year, the report says.

“We know that businesses with diverse workforces can outperform their more homogenous peers and are better positioned to adapt to a rapidly changing global business environment,” Grant Thornton’s CEO, Sacha Romanovitch, told Forbes following release of the report. “Within the context of increased uncertainty and complexity, firms must resist group-think and welcome a range of perspectives in order to grow and meet the challenges of today.”

And in case you were wondering, Romanovitch is a woman.

Their report also finds that earning a higher salary is a larger motivator for women to seek leadership roles than it is for men (28% compared to 21%). And the overall skills needed to lead are also perceived differently – women see listening and engaging in dialogue as necessary skills, while men are more likely to focus on the ability to broadcast messages.

What can we do about it?

Ready to change these numbers? WINiT has created a multitude of resources for those who are looking to build connections with female leaders or to hire female staff for their travel companies. WINiT’s Career Board also has a repository of searchable resumes from current members looking for new opportunities. If your company has open leadership positions, it’s a great place to start the search for a new hire with valuable industry experience.

And if evaluating your current company’s leadership prompts the need for a change, upload your resume to the site so that progressive companies can find you.

Changing what seems like an insurmountable issue can take time, but building the momentum to drive that change always starts with a single step. Begin with www.womenintravel.org.

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