Black employees in the hospitality industry disproportionately lost jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and rebuilding the workforce will take significant change in the opportunities offered to Black employees, a new report finds.
The Castell Project’s Black Representation in Hospitality Industry Leadership 2022 report finds that Black representation in leadership for the public face of the hospitality is not making the gains necessary to show opportunity for Black employees.
According to the report, only 11% of 671 hotel company websites reviewed showed Black executives from director through CEO prominently on their websites, a decline from 2019.
Those Black executives represented just 2% of all hospitality industry executives on company websites reviewed.
During the pandemic, Black employees in hospitality were disproportionately impacted, with Black employees making up 18.8% of the hospitality workforce in 2019 compared to 13.6% in 2021 – a 52% loss of jobs.
In comparison, across all industries, employment declined only 3.2% and Black workers overall retained their share of jobs.
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Meanwhile, Black women have stronger representation than Black men at the director level but are less likely to be advanced than Black men.
Black representation in leadership is heavily weighted toward human resources, with HR employing 28% of Black employees at the director to CEO levels. Black employees are also significantly less likely to find opportunity in food and beverage, construction and design or investment and development.
“We recognize the remarkable support of the many men and women working to advance Black representation in hospitality industry leadership,” says Castell Project chair Peggy Berg.
“However, as executive director of Tourism Diversity Matters Greg DeShields says, ‘We need to rethink working in the hospitality industry and rebuild trust. This requires hiring diverse talent into higher levels of management, acting upon the importance of having leaders who reflect the demographics of our customers and creating an inclusive workplace.’”