HVS Executive Search Study Reveals: “Personal Choice” Holds Career Women Back In the Hospitality Industry;Crash of the “Glass Ceiling” in Hospitality Companies

HVS Executive Search, in its recent white paper published in the August 2013 Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.

Have the most salient challenges affecting women’s advancement in the hospitality industry shifted from traditional workplace barriers to self-imposed barriers? YES, according to leading hospitality human capital advisory firm HVS Executive Search, in its recent white paper published in the August 2013 Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.

A year-long survey of 100 executive men and women in the hospitality industry (including 15 women holding top executive level positions around the world) has determined that barriers to women’s advancement are undergoing a shift; Personal priorities hold greater influence over advancement opportunities for women in this industry, than do traditional workplace barriers. This indicates a shift away from the traditional view of the “glass ceiling.”

“The glass ceiling is now predominantly a misnomer, at least in the hospitality industry,” claims Juliette Boone, Managing Director-North America for HVS Executive Search and lead author of the study. “Overall men and women agreed on the presence and impact of specific workplace barriers to the advancement of women to top CEO spots in hospitality organizations, yet they equally also agreed on the presence and impact of specific personal priorities in their lives.”

  • 60% of the men and women surveyed indicated that they were not interested in reaching a “top spot” in their organization. Most responses for both sexes emphasized self-imposed barriers such as “not a career goal,” work-life balance,” “priority for family,” “life-stage,” “lack of skills or education,” and “pressure or visibility unappealing.”
  • Remarkably only 14% of women’s responses and 10% of men’s responses indicated that stereotyping, discriminatory practices, and political or geographical forces were an apparent obstacle hindering their own professional advancement.
  • Men and women agree on home and career: Out of six categories of personal priorities, both sexes rated family first and career third. Men do not seem more career-focused than women, and women do not seem more household-focused than men.
  • Personal choice outweighs the glass ceiling: Household and family responsibilities were rated as the #1 hindrance to women’s career advancement. There are opportunities for women to climb the corporate ladder if they choose to navigate personal circumstances.

Boone shares, “the research shows that significant promotions typically take place for women when they are in their 40’s. At this time in their lives, many women must weigh their career advancement against family related issues. Also, self-established barriers interfere with advancement, such as unwillingness to relocate, concessions made within a spousal partnership and traditional gender roles. When women perceive barriers to their career advancement they tend to either exit, voice concern or rationalize remaining on a plateau.”

“Workplace barriers still exist in some organizations, but these appear rooted in poor leadership, specifically a lack of mentoring and career planning for women. Outright stereotyping ended up as the 3rd most important concern,” added Boone.

Please click here to view Rethinking a Glass Ceiling in the Hospitality Industry.

For more information about the results and conclusions of this study, please contact:
Juliette Boone
HVS Executive Search
Managing Director – North America
+1 303 440 8427

Press Contact:
Leora Halpern Lanz,
516-248-8828 x 278