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Industry Briefs

Many large companies, including many in the hospitality industry, publicly tout their commitment to diversity and state that having an inclusive workforce is a strategic business priority. As a result, firms often institute formal diversity initiatives and hire personnel to lead organizational inclusion efforts.

For example, Hilton and Hyatt (and others) have Global Heads of Diversity and Inclusion, and Marriott maintains "long standing partnerships with over 30 diversity organizations" whose "missions align with [its] diversity and inclusion efforts."1

Despite their pro-diversity and inclusion stances and initiatives, companies have not been very successful in bringing about significant racial diversity in executive leadership, and top roles in practically all organizations and occupations remain overwhelmingly white and male.2This is indeed the case in the hospitality industry.

Demographic data collected by the Castell Project for over 630 U.S. hospitality companies, encompassing more than 6,300 executives, provides insight into the dearth of Black representation among the ranks of hospitality executives. Black people make up 17.9% of employees in the hospitality industry and are overrepresented in the hospitality industry overall (compared to being 13.8% of the overall U.S. population). Despite this:3

·      Black people hold 0.7% of CEO positions within U.S. hospitality firms

·      Black men hold 0.5% of CEO positions while Black women hold 0.2%

·      At the Director level and above, Black people hold a mere 1.5% of positions(1.0% by Black men and 0.5% by Black women)

As a group of hospitality industry veterans with wide-ranging professional experiences, along with scholars and academics who are engaged in the education and preparation of future generations of hospitality professionals and leaders, we are concerned about the enduring absence of Black and African American executives in our industry. We provide this roadmap to illuminate a positive path forward and offer ourselves as a resource in this endeavor.

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