Diageo Led Hospitality Coalition Launches White Paper Addressing Talent Challenges Facing Women in Tourism

5 Mar 2015 | Press release

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Findings call for tripartite action of private, government and employee organisations to realise the potential of women and promote workplace gender equality

5 March 2015 - Diageo, the world''s leading premium drinks company, today announced the findings and recommendations of a White Paper backed by the efforts of key hospitality and tourism industry members, to explore challenges of talent shortages in the sector. The White Paper entitled ''Women in Tourism and Hospitality: Unlocking the Potential in the Talent Pool'', was produced by the Hospitality Industry Pipeline (HIP) Coalition and was launched at the Women in Tourism and Hospitality Forum in Hong Kong on 5 March, ahead of International Women''s Day.

Established last year, the HIP Coalition brings together leading industry members to identify, share and promote best practice in recruitment, employment, diversity and inclusion. Led by Diageo, other members include Accor Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, Sala Baï Hotel and Restaurant School and CARE International. Research partners are Professor Tom Baum from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and Professor Catherine Cheung from Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

"Two thirds of the global hospitality industry workforce is comprised of women and 73 million new travel and tourism jobs will be created by 2022. However, the UN World Tourism Organisation asserts that women in this sector are still underpaid, under-utilized, under-educated, and under-represented. We know gender diverse leadership teams deliver better financial performance for companies. The aim of the Coalition and White Paper are to raise awareness of the pressing talent issues facing the hospitality sector and lead the industry to address them through diversity, thereby growing communities and businesses" said Sam Fischer, President Greater China and Asia, Diageo.

"At Diageo, we are committed to creating shared value by building thriving communities that enable those who live and work in our communities, particularly women, to have the skills and resources to build a better future for themselves. This Coalition is an integral part of our community programme ''Plan W: Empowering Women through Learning''." added Fischer.

Through Plan W, Diageo''s goal is to empower two million women across all socio-economic profiles by 2017, giving them opportunities to learn and develop skills to be able to influence society and the economy. The recommendations in the White Paper will help harness the opportunities presented in the booming hospitality industry to realise this goal and at the same time address the sector’s talent needs and grow the industry in partnership.

"Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce and represents one of the main income sources for many developing countries. It also accounts for a significant proportion of economic activity in Asia and as such impacts, and is impacted by, a wide range of stakeholders. These stakeholders have a vested interest in enabling the continued growth of the industry and therefore share the responsibility for a healthy talent pipeline," said Professor Baum.

From a global perspective, women in hospitality:

  • Make up close to 70% of the total workforce
  • Undertake over 70% of all work in the informal hospitality sector
  • Hold less than 40% of all managerial and supervisory positions in the international hospitality industry
  • Hold less than 20% of general management roles
  • Are identified as owners of less than 20% of hospitality businesses and only around 10% of hotels worldwide
  • Make up between 5% and 8% of corporate board members of publically-quoted hospitality businesses

These statistics show that even though the majority of the hospitality industry''s workforce is female, women are still under-represented in senior positions and general management roles.

"The imperative to have women in leadership roles is now mainstream, and many multinational companies and sectors have initiatives and objectives which aim to make this possible. However, the hospitality and tourism industry has not yet succeeded in promoting women in significant numbers into leadership positions," added Professor Baum.

The Paper concludes with wide-ranging recommendations, derived from case studies detailing best practices by coalition members and directed at tripartite stakeholders of private sector, government and employee organisations, in order to realise the potential of women in the workplace and to promote the business case for gender equality. The recommendations are largely based on the business proposition for gender equality, which aim to provide a fresh and more strategic approach to the issue.


Best practice case studies contributed by HIP Coalition members include:

  • Accor''s Asia Pacific Women at Accor Generation (WAAG) committee which executes tailored initiatives and a mentoring programme to help overcome challenges in gender diversity
  • Banyan Tree''s training and development strategy that guides associates into leadership roles as well as sourcing initiatives that provide support for indigenous craftswomen
  • Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ Global Female General Manager (GM) Initiative that seeks to ensure gender balance at all levels within the organisation by implementing a globally agreed strategy and roadmap to increase female GM representation
  • Sala Baï Hotel and Restaurant school in Cambodia that provides free vocational training to disadvantaged young people with a priority to girls, to aid them in gaining employment in the hospitality industry
  • CARE International''s partnership with Diageo and Jetwing Hotel Group to provide hospitality skills training for young adults in Sri Lanka


Plan W is part of Diageo''s new 2020 sustainability and responsibility targets which aims to build thriving communities. Through Plan W our goal is to empower two million women across all socio-economic profiles by 2017 giving them opportunities to learn and develop skills to be able to influence society and the economy. Plan W launched in December 2012 with an initial commitment to invest USD$10 million, and in March 2013, Diageo became the first beverage alcohol company to sign the UN Women''s Empowerment Principles globally.

Diageo is committed to workplace diversity for our own business, as well as growing the talents, skills and capability of the women who work within our wider value chain. Our four key areas of focus for Plan W include; Our Company: ensuring a diverse and equitable workforce; Our Industry: delivering targeted skills training to women in hospitality to improve their knowledge and job prospects; Our Communities: working with partners, to train women in marginalized communities helping them to obtain jobs and start businesses; Our Consumers: raising awareness among consumers. To date, Plan W has empowered 90,575 women through learning, indirectly impacted 452,875 people and is building thriving communities across 15 countries.

Find out more about Diageo''s Plan W and Women''s Empowerment:

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