ATLANTA — Officials of Castell Project, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry, has released the Black Representation in Hospitality Leadership 2020 report.

The statistical document reflects the industry prior to the ongoing pandemic. Castell Project plans to release an updated report in January to show the impact on Black representation as the industry rehires.

“While Black women and men account for one in five hospitality jobs according to the U.S. Department of Labor, our research found there are a mere one in 65 hospitality-industry executives at the director level or higher. This is the public face of the industry shown on corporate websites,” says Peggy Berg, chair, Castell Project, Inc. “The hospitality industry has long told the story that anyone can start at an entry-level position and reach leadership through sweat and hard work. Unfortunately, the numbers do not show this to be true for Black employees. We hope the statistics in this report will support negotiations and a real commitment to open opportunity to Black men and women.”

Three analysts captured information from the websites of hotel companies listed in the STR Directory of Hotel & Lodging Companies. Each website was reviewed twice and LinkedIn was used to verify some entries. Identification was made by visual inspection, and self-identification could vary. Data includes 630 hotel companies drawn from 971 companies that are based in the U.S. or Canada. The sample set has a minimum of five hotels and/or 700 rooms. The dataset includes 6,302 people.

The report found 84 per cent of the 630 hotel company websites reviewed don’t show any Black executives on their websites, while only 102, or 16 per cent, showed a Black employee at the director level or above. Black executives represent 1.5 per cent of hospitality-industry executives at the director level or above on company websites, which is 12.5 times below their proportionate share of hospitality industry employment.

“Diversity in leadership has not been a high priority for the hospitality industry,” adds Berg. “With attention now, however, it can shape the future. This means being mindful of the post-Coronavirus racial makeup of organizations and implementing best practices modeled by leading companies that have successfully diversified leadership across the economy.”

The complete report is available at


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