Hospitality industry, gender balance, and profits

18 April 2024

Writer: Naureen Ahmed, the founder of Inspiring Women in Hospitality (Dusit Thani College’s partner)

Source: The Bangkok Insight (www.thebangkokinsight.com)


Some might say that the world has been functioning adequately without gender balance.

Apart from moral considerations, let me present the case for gender balance supported by data.

Here are three studies that share how it is beneficial to business and the economy at large:

  • According to McKinsey in 2020, $28 trillion added to global GDP. If women were to participate in the economy identically to men, they could add as much as $28 trillion or 26% to annual global GDP by 2025.
  • According to McKinsey in 2020, 25% more likely to have above average profitability. Organisations in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are 25% more likely to have above average profitability.
  • According to a PWC report in 2017, 61% of women look at diversity of employers. 61% of women look at the diversity of the employers leadership team when deciding where to work.

What can the hospitality industry learn from this?

The tourism, travel, and hospitality sector significantly influences the global GDP. As per the WTTC, we contributed 7.6% to the world GDP in 2022. Just envision the enhanced representation if every female employee received equivalent pay compared to their male colleagues from the start. Moreover, providing women with equal career advancement opportunities as men would further elevate our sector. Investing more in our employees leads to greater returns in the long run.

In Aptamind’s 2022 report, it is noted that while the workforce in the leisure sector is evenly split at 50-50, only 7% of CEO positions worldwide are held by women. The McKinsey study indicates that companies with a gender-diverse executive team can expect a 25% increase in profits compared to those without. This analysis highlights the missed opportunities for increased profits due to a lack of diversity in leadership roles.

When considering which companies to work for, women often pay attention to the diversity within leadership teams. Dusit International stands out as a female-founded business, having been established by Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui and the present CEO is also a female (Khun Suphajee Suthumpun). While altering companies’ founders is not much of a possibility, the need to further efforts in diversifying leadership roles within the hospitality sector remains.

Having those role models are crucial for the new generation entering the industry today. When I graduated from university in 2006, I never imagined becoming a hotel General Manager because I didn’t see any female GMs in hotels who resembled me. While there has been progress in the past two decades, there is still much work to do. Having examples of those who paved the way makes it easier to believe in the possibilities. Sharing their stories is essential to increase visibility, which inspired me to launch the podcast ‘Inspiring Women in Hospitality’ on www.inspiringwomeninhospitality.com. The podcast highlights the diverse range of career paths available to women in the hospitality industry.

As a champion for gender balance, I value partnering with educational institutions such as Dusit Thani College, to inspire the young generation on matters of equality, diversity, and inclusion. In raising their awareness and challenging any remnant biases, they may shine the light on a multitude of possibilities. Through education, no matter what your career ambitions may be, there should be no gendered- based limitations. These students will one day become the future leaders of our industry, so let us instil in them some good values as they enter the workforce.

Together, let’s strive for a more gender-balanced industry by uplifting each other collectively.



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