The cost to employers of the 310,000 women leaving the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry each year is £2.8b in recruitment and training, according to a report by sector skills council People 1st.
The Women 1st - the case for change report also highlighted five key barriers that appear to be the most significant in preventing women's advancement to senior roles: the difficulty of combining work with caring responsibilities; a dominant macho culture; preconceptions and gender bias; a lack of networking; and a lack of visible women in senior positions.
While the number of women working in the industry has declined over the past six years from 61% in 2004-05 to 56%, the sector continues to grow and is expected to recruit an additional 290,000 managers up to 2017.
The research was unveiled at the launch of the Women 1st Top 100 Most Influential Women and Shine Awards nominations. Martin-Christian Kent, People 1st's director of policy and research, said at the event that employers in the industry are losing a valuable resource when talented women are unable to achieve their career ambitions. "If we are able to develop and retain more women in the industry, it would help ensure that we have the number of skilled managers we need for the future."
He added that the report demonstrates a clear link between women's representation in senior management and business performance indicators such as financial performance and shareholder value. "It makes sound financial sense for sector businesses to develop women for senior positions and consider the appointment of more women on their boards."
Natalie Bickford, HR director for Sodexo and chair of Women 1st, said: "We have a real opportunity to address the problem head-on by building on international best practice that provides practical solutions for individuals and businesses in our sector."
The Top 100 list and awards winners will be announced in spring 2011.
â- Having at least one female director on the board appears to cut a company's chances of going bust by about 20 percent. Having two or three female directors lowers the risk even more.
â- Research has shown that the Fortune 500 companies with three or more women on the board gained a significant performance advantage including a 73% higher return on sales, an 83% higher return on equity and a 112% higher return on invested capital than those with the fewest female board members.
â- In the UK, women are expected to own 60% of all personal wealth by 2025 and there are now more female millionaires between the age of 18 and 44 than male.
â- Businesses that don't represent and respond to the demands of female customers at senior decision making level may lose out commercially. Only 12.2% of the FTSE 100 directors are women.
â- On average 25% of the male workforce is employed in management or senior positions, compared to 18% of females.
â- Women are more likely to fill part-time roles with 54% of females working in the sector on a part-time basis, compared with 46 percent of men.
By Janie Stamford
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