Report Illustrates Lack of Black Leadership In Hotel Industry
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Report Illustrates Lack of Black Leadership In Hotel Industry

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Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Jul 31, 2020

A new report reveals there is a lack of Black leadership in the hospitality industry.

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows Black employees made up more than 18 percent of the hospitality industry in 2019. Only 1.5 percent, however, served as industry executives at the director level or above, according to a report by the nonprofit Castell Project titled “Black Representation in Hospitality Industry Leadership 2020.”

The report also found that only 0.9 percent of CEOs or presidents are Black with Black men holding more than 80 percent of those job titles compared to 14 percent of Black women.

“I think in the back of all of our minds, we knew there was an issue,” Castell Project co-founder and president Peggy Berg told Black Travel News during an interview. “I don’t think anyone knew the size of the elephant [in the room], which is the whole point in counting. To see exactly what is there—or not there in this case. I think the social and business structure and habits and biases that set this situation in the hospitality industry have been in place for a long, long time, and we really need to get out from under that burden.”

Castell Project’s research for this report started in January and was completed in March as the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc on the travel industry.  The organization, whose mission is to see more women in leadership roles in the hospitality industry, plans to update its findings later in the year to compare the industry before and after the shutdown.

“What this study does is, it’s the public face of the hospitality industry,” Berg added. “If you’re a parent and your son or daughter says, ‘I want to go to school to study hotels,’ and you’re Black, this is what the industry is showing you. That if your child shows you this, they don’t have an opportunity to get ahead. If you’re advancing in your career and have a choice of staying in another industry or moving into hospitality and you’re wondering if it’s a good career move, this is what the industry is showing you. I believe we should be an industry that offers a tremendous opportunity to all kinds of people. That is what I say we are, and I want that to be true.”