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Bringing more Women to the boardroom in events

Did you know that only 27% of senior jobs in the event industry are held by females?

We recently attended a talk hosted by Fay Sharp of BCD Meetings & Events where the topic of workplace equality was high on the agenda. Last year they surveyed a range of organisations and the results formed the basis of their report: Women in Travel, Events and Hospitality.

The report lists five key findings about women working in these industries. What we really wanted to find out, though, was how the status quo was being challenged and how could we help those women, who’s dream job is to be managing director or CEO, get to where they want to be?

So, what did the report find?

Approximately 80% of the students studying event management degrees in the UK are female, our survey indicates that only 27% of women are currently   at CEO or MD level. There is still much more for us to do in order to ‘bridge the gap’.
The number one barrier identified by women (70% of respondents) for why they are under- represented at senior levels within the industry was a ‘traditional bias’.
20% of our female respondents claim that they have been discriminated against in their careers by a lack of diversity in the workplace.
42% of women felt that a more diverse workforce would deliver better company performance, highlighting the business rationale for greater gender parity.

Only 33% of women and 7% of men polled believed that a quota system should be put in place to address the imbalances identified here.

The results suggest that there’s a glass ceiling for women within the events industry. According to their survey responses, they believe they’re being stopped from securing the top jobs because of traditional bias, men preferring to recruit men and the idea that boardrooms are still an ‘old boys club’. If we can find out what’s halting the progress of women who are eager to climb the career ladder we can challenge the status quo and take meaningful steps towards making event company boardrooms more diverse and inclusive.

How can the events industry empower women and create gender-balanced boardrooms?

More and more companies are putting gender diversity on their agendas and our hope is that the it’s addressed, the closer we’ll get to gender equality becoming the standard.
AccorHotels set a strong example for the rest of the industry when they established their own gender diversity programme ‘HeForShe’. They set a target for females to account for 35% of hotel managers by the end of 2017. By championing the initiative they reached 34%, showing what can be achieved when everyone is on board.
The industry also needs to look at ways to support women who are trying to find a balance between raising their families and pursuing their careers. Of the women BCD surveyed, 33% felt maternity leave issues were a barrier to their professional progression. Increasing initiatives like flexible working and shared parental leave and family friendly staff benefits such as childcare vouchers would allow women to build careers around their commitments outside of work.
As event recruiters, we’re committed to being proactive in playing our part in gender diversity within our industry too. We’re not looking to promote positive discrimination but rather putting the skills, experience and values of a candidate before their gender when we’re helping them secure their dream job, whether that’s managing events or managing director.
To find out more about how we can help you take the next step in your career path, contact us today for tailored advice and handpicked opportunities with some of the most exciting companies in the industry.

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