Why travel should be leading the way on gender pay parity

With stats showing that travel has a smaller gender pay difference than other industries, some could be tempted to celebrate, but this isn't recent to cheer – travel SHOULD be leading the way on this issue.

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With stats showing that travel and tourism has a gender pay difference of 6.5 per cent, some could be tempted to celebrate that we have a much smaller equality gap than many other industries. But this isn't recent to cheer – travel SHOULD be leading the way on this issue.

Travel and tourism is seen as an industry of inclusivity with a diverse range of people working in it, so it stands to reason that we will be ahead of many other sectors when it comes to equality. The concerning thing is that a gender pay gap still exists in our industry at all.

There are many positives to be taken from the figures – not least of which is that the gap has fallen from 14.2 per cent before the pandemic. Things are clearly changing, and the industry is beginning to make headway with the issue.

Both in travel and other industries, we are all more aware of gender inequality, and bigger companies are now required to declare their pay disparity. Measures like these are certainly helping, but they will only go so far.

What's really heartening is that we're also seeing female candidates in our industry becoming more confident in negotiating better salaries for themselves when looking for a new role, with many feeling increasingly comfortable about having conversations with their bosses regarding wage increases.

For many years, men have been far more vocal regarding their pay, while women traditionally remained quieter, but thankfully this is now changing with more women understanding their worth and importance to their company. Changes brought about by the pandemic – such as homebased and hybrid working – are also creating positive results, with more women and those with children now increasingly likely to put themselves forward for bigger jobs.

One of the main reasons for travel's overall gender pay gap is due to the large number of women being placed in entry level roles in the industry. This has always been the case, but the percentage of females joining the industry in lower-paid positions has increased in recent years from 68.7 per cent in 2019 to 73.3 per cent last year.

However, in time, some of these women should progress through the industry into more senior roles and will then have the ability to implement their own diversity and inclusion policies at their future companies, helping to eliminate any salary disparities between genders.

Every year since C&M's figures began in 2014, male travel executives have significantly out eared their female equivalents…until last year. But while this is a clear example of the progress being made, we can't be pleased with a one-off anomaly – we need to see this happen more consistently.

Ultimately, this isn't about paying women more or reducing men's salaries so that they fall in line with their female colleagues – it is about equality for all. Companies should carry out salary audits to ensure they are paying their employees fairly for their position – regardless of their gender.

Travel is a wonderfully inclusive place to work, so if we don't lead the way with true pay parity across our whole industry, who will?

By Barbara Kolosinska, Managing Director of C&M Travel Recruitment