Ethnic Minorities suffer barriers

In an industry that is very diverse at grassroots level, Leading Hospitality magazine En Passant conducted a survey to to find out whether those from ethnic minorities are progressing into middle and senior management roles, and if not, what were the barriers for progression?

En Passant spoke confidentially to Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers drawn from a variety of hospitality operations including contract catering, hotels, restaurant, facilities management and retail catering operations. Geographically, the companies were based throughout the UK.

The following data summary paints a disturbing picture of barriers to progression within the Hospitality ,Leisure, Travel and Tourism Industry.

Headline Figures:

  • Percentages of those from ethnic minorities at varying levels within the industry*:
  • Average representation of ethnic minorities at unit level is at least 50%
    • In some cases this figure was as high as 100%
    • For those respondents who were able to divide these groups further, the average estimate for each group was:
      • black – 10-15%
      • Asian – 10-15%
      • Eastern European – 20-25%
  • Average representation of ethnic minorities working at middle-senior management level is 6%
    • 44% of those who responded to this question had no people from ethnic minorities at the middle and senior management levels
  • Average representation of ethnic minorities at board level is 2%
    • 86% of those who responded to this question had no people from ethnic minorities at board level.
  • 100% of respondents had some form of policy with regard to diversity, such as Equal Opportunity or Anti Discrimination.
  • 87% of those interviewed believed that the policies were adhered to by line managers and others with recruitment and promotion responsibilities.
  • 13% believed that the policies did not necessarily translate. Comments included:
    • People pay lip service to it but policies can’t always change behaviours
    • Having a policy isn’t enough, you need to educate and train people to understand different cultures and create better working relationships
    • Policies demonstrate aims and protect legally but aren’t necessarily implemented
  • 83% felt that ALL employees had an equal opportunity to progress within their business.
  • 17% felt that other factors influenced progression and that it was not true that all employees had an equal chance on progressing.
  • Despite 83% believing that all INDIVIDUALS had an equal opportunity to progress, 70% of respondents named at least one potential barrier when questioned further about black, Asian or Eastern European groups.

Following the publication of the research results and the feedback of a recent leadership forum to discuss these, En Passant will be launching a Working Party on diversity in January 2008.  The working party will be represented by industry leaders, and diversity experts with the aim of leading an agenda for discussion and debate.  We believe that this group will provide a catalyst for making real progress on the diversity debate, and act as a positive impetus to influence thinking and actions for the development of talent, regardless of background or ethnic origin, which is vital to the sustainability of our labour force.


* For the purposes of this research, En Passant investigated the progression of black, Asian and Eastern European employees. Traditionally, Eastern European employees would not be taken into account, however given the influx of immigrants from this area and the large numbers employed in our sector, their progression and potential barriers have been included for discussion in this review

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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