The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLAF) – a philanthropic organization that aims to elevate, educate and empower the hospitality workforce – just released the 2022 Diversity of Hospitality Industry Public Boards research report. The good news: the Castell Project and AHLAF are tracking these stats because what gets measured gets done. The bad news: two public hotel companies had no women on their boards, as of the research date.
AHLAF and the Castell Project, who recently merged, are aiming to create an industry “as diverse as the guests we serve,” and this research aligns with AHLA’s 5-year, $5 million commitment to advance DE&I across the hospitality arena.
Castell Project + AHLAF Research Methodology and Key Findings
The Diversity of Hospitality Industry Public Boards research findings represent data about hospitality industry public company boards after reviewing 30 companies and 262 board members. They reviewed 10-k filings on corporate brands of public hospitality companies based in the United States. Using a data range of six years to track progress, some of the key findings include:
Hospitality public company boards comprised 22.5% women in 2021, this is down fractionally from 2020 when women made up 23.2 % of the boards. As a point of comparison, The Russell 3000 averaged 25.6 percent female board members in 2021 and will reach 27% in 2022.
7.6 percent of hospitality public company board members in 2021 were African American, up from 6.3 percent in 2020 and equivalent to pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
There are three Black board chairs, one of whom is female.
Two boards had no female representation. Castell denied our request to name the two companies and indicated that since the research was conducted at least one of the companies has already appointed a woman to its board. The next report comes out in June of 2023.
To view the full report click here.
“This research is crucial as part of the AHLA Foundation’s commitment to advancing diversity in hospitality,” said AHLAF Vice President of Workforce Development Sarah Cozewith. “As part of our merger, we are proud to welcome BUILD and ELEVATE into the AHLAF family. These programs are two shining examples that allow mid-level and senior-level female hoteliers to craft their skills and move into higher level hotel positions.”
“While there is still work to do, we are proud to see the industry making DE&I a priority and look forward to tracking continued progress in 2023 and beyond,” said Peggy Berg, founder of the Castell Project. “As we aim to advance female leaders in the hospitality industry, we continue to move in the right direction and are committed to hitting our goals.”
Broader Movement to Get Women on Boards Globally
To put this research in context, though not industry specific to hotel companies, there is a broader movement globally to get more women on corporate boards. In the UK women make up nearly 40% of the FTSE 100 companies, compared with 12.5% 10 years ago. The EU has recently agreed that companies will face mandatory quotas to ensure women have at least 40% of seats on corporate boards starting in 2026. This change finally came after 10 years of stalemate over the proposals, according to The Guardian. This progress gives hope but also shows it takes time. Meanwhile, in the US, a similar proposal to create quotas for women on boards in California was struck down.
The research was conducted by the Castell Project, an organization dedicated to advancing female leaders in hospitality. AHLA Foundation and Castell Project recently merged and together and share their same values of bringing diverse voices to the top.