The Hospitality Industry, like many others, is facing unprecedented staff shortages. Brexit and the pandemic have created a perfect storm which has seen many employees leave the industry in droves. Some have left the UK for good, but for those who remain, there is an increased focus on values and purpose. Employees want to work for organisations who are committed to diversity and inclusion, who promote individuals based on transparent career progression paths and where they feel supported and encouraged to achieve their full potential.
Mandatory publication of diversity data through gender pay gap reporting was introduced in 2017, which required employers with over 250 employees to publish the difference in average pay between men and women across all levels of their organisation. The aim of the legislation was to make organisations publicly accountable for addressing their pay gap. Those who fail to publish their data face adverse publicity and potential penalties from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
The legislation has been effective in helping to close the gender pay gap in the hospitality sector. Following three years of progressive narrowing of the gap, it widened for the first time last year from 5,4% to 7.7% according to a recent report by WiHTL Diversity in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure.
In an industry that was disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, it is perhaps unsurprising that progress stalled. The fact that the mandatory reporting requirements were cancelled and postponed during the Covid crisis, may have also been a contributing factor.
2021 data reveals that 58% of the highest paid positions across the industry were still held by men whereas 54 percent of the lowest paid positions were held by women.
However, the report highlighted some encouraging signs that progress will resume as the sector now recovers from the pandemic. It is clear that Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (“ED&I”) is a significant focus area for businesses and that the industry recognises the numerous commercial benefits that a clear ED&I strategy can bring – diverse teams drive performance, improve recruitment, retention, engagement and ultimately increase productivity and profit margins.
With the sector employing more women than most other sectors, initiatives aimed at empowering females and increasing their representation at leadership level are welcomed. Many organisations reported a renewed focus on this area including promoting inclusive recruitment, coaching, education, awareness and mentoring.
Voluntary Gender Pay Gap Reporting
In another positive move, many smaller organisations within the industry, chose to voluntarily report their diversity data despite not being required to do so. As the industry continues to face severe staff shortages and fierce competition for talent, this will help them to gain a competitive advantage. Showing a commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and reporting diversity data is one of the most important things an employer can do to ensure they attract and retain diverse talent.
Companies that create and promote a respectful and inclusive culture will also undoubtedly reap future rewards in the form of reduced turnover, increased productivity and engagement, reinforced connection with customers and a strong, positive corporate brand.
For help and support with your Equality Diversity and Inclusion Strategy or diversity data and gender pay gap reporting please contact Claire Taylor-Evans, Senior Associate on [email protected]
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