Loss of female talent costs hospitality leisure, travel and tourism sector 2.8 billion a year


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The 310,000 female workers who leave the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry each year are costing businesses 2.8 billion in replacement recruitment and initial training, a new report unveiled by People 1st today reveals.

The figures from the research report, Women 1st – the Case for Change: Women Working in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism, highlight the cost to the sector of losing female talent, along with five key barriers that appear to be the most significant in preventing women’s advancement to senior roles: the difficulty of combining work with caring responsibilities, a dominant macho culture, preconceptions and gender bias, a lack of networking and a lack of visible women in senior positions.  

The percentage of women working in the sector has continually declined over the past six years from 61% in 2004/5 to 56%. This comes at a time when the sector continues to grow and is expected to recruit an additional 290,000 managers up to 2017.  On average, 25% of the male workforce is employed in management or senior positions, compared to 18% of females.  Women are more likely to fill part-time roles with 54% of females working in the sector on a part-time basis, compared with 46% of men.

Speaking at the launch of the Women 1st Top 100 Most Influential Women and Shine Awards nominations, Martin-Christian Kent, People 1st’s director of policy and research, said:  "Employers in the industry are losing a valuable resource when talented women are unable to achieve their career ambitions. If we are able to develop and retain more women in the industry, it would help ensure that we have the number of skilled managers we need for the future. 

"The report also demonstrates a clear link between women’s representation in senior management and business performance indicators such as financial performance and shareholder value. It makes sound financial sense for sector businesses to develop women for senior positions and consider the appointment of more women on their boards."

Natalie Bickford, HR director UK and Ireland for Sodexo, and chair of Women 1st, commented: "Through the Women 1st programme developed by People 1st, we have a real opportunity to address the problem head-on by building on international best practice that provides practical solutions for individuals and businesses in our sector."


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