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Report finds racism in hospitality, but appetite for change

Published:  03 June, 2021

More than half of black, Asian and ethnic minority hospitality professionals have experienced or witnessed racism at work, according to a new Inside Hospitality Report from Be Inclusive Hospitality.

Based on a CPL-commissioned survey of 387 hospitality professionals from different ethnicities and occupations across all levels of the sector, the questions covered areas such as racism, bias, career progression, inclusion, wellbeing and training.

The Report, released on the first anniversary of the launch of not-for-profit Be Inclusive Hospitality, found that 42% of mixed race hospitality employees felt that their race or ethnicity had hindered their career progression, with this figure rising to 41% for black respondents and 56% for Asian hospitality professionals.

Among white respondents 7% said that their race or ethnicity had hindered their career progression.

Be Inclusive Hospitality called for “urgent action” over “the real concern about the impact of racism in the workplace” for over half of people of colour in hospitality.

On a more positive note, the Report did also reveal an appetite for change.

“There is a clear appetite for education and training around race and ethnicity within the workplace, with 60% of respondents saying that while they have not received any appropriate staff training or education, they find the idea appealing,” found the Report.

Just 28% of those surveyed said they had received any training or education around race, ethnicity or anti-racism.

In its conclusions, the Inside Hospitality Report also highlighted “practical steps” that employers can take to work towards a more “equitable, diverse and inclusive culture”.

"I wanted to run the Inside Hospitality survey and gather data so that we are all able to take steps forward towards racial equity in hospitality through understanding the experiences of those who work in the industry,” said Lorraine Copes (pictured), founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality.

“Hospitality has some work to do marketing itself as an industry that can and will support its teams. Sadly, this report identifies exactly how much work there is to do, especially for those from ethnic minority backgrounds.”

Copes added that as the sector is suffering from a staffing crisis, putting its house in order as it rebuilds by ensuring that hospitality is a sector where “all people can thrive and develop their careers, not those that are in a privileged position” would benefit the industry as whole.

Be Inclusive Hospitality delivers a range of workshops to restaurants and hotels within the sector covering topics such as Race Literacy, and Inclusive Leadership, along with supporting leaders to transform their company cultures.

Both a summary of the Inside Hospitality Report and the option to purchase the full report can be found here.