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Two-thirds of leaders in hospitality think the sector has problems with diversity, according to a new survey from CGA unveiled at UKHospitality’s ‘Shaping the Future’ Conference.

The exclusive report is the catalyst for fresh efforts to improve diversity and gender balance at the top of the industry, led by UKHospitality with backing from Odgers Berndtson. Presenting the findings, Holly Addison, Head of Consumer Digital & Hospitality at Odgers Berndtson said that 63% of leaders believe there is a diversity problem in leadership—and fewer than one in seven (14%) agree that enough is being done to promote inclusion.

The survey also reveals that only just over half (55%) of leaders have a diversity policy in place at their business. It identifies an urgent need for a fairer gender split in particular, with four in five (82%) respondents agreeing that the hospitality sector needs more women on leadership teams.

Addison said that while the number of women on the boards of FTSE100 companies had risen sharply in recent years, many small and medium-sized businesses still have few or no women at the top. “Gender diversity on executive boards strongly correlates to improved financial performance… but there is still some way to go,” she told the Conference.

Addison called on businesses in the sector to get involved with a new diversity initiative and cross-industry mentoring scheme coordinated by UKHospitality, Odgers Berndtson, Elliotts and BT Sport. Launching in October, it aims to improve the gender balance in leadership in the sector and to provide people with the support they need to advance to more senior positions. Fewer than a third of leaders answering CGA’s survey currently have a mentoring scheme in place to support diversity and inclusion, and nearly three quarters (71%) agree that a sector-wide initiative could help to increase the number of women on leadership teams.

“The time for talking about this is really over—the challenge is now putting diversity into effect,” Addison said at the Conference. “Please show your support, and let’s make all our teams winning teams.”

     

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