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The nation’s corporate hotel industry is woefully failing to hire African American managers and minority-owned companies in a fast-growing, overwhelmingly white trade, according to a new report released by the NAACP.

The NAACP’s Report Card graded the five largest hotels –Marriott, Wyndam, Hyatt, Starwood and Hilton — for ethnic diversity and racial inclusion. While Marriott International received an overall B grade – the highest rating out of all the hotels– other major hotels that were evaluated scored poorly — either a C-plus or C – and no corporate hotel leader received an A in the NAACP study.

“The lodging industry has failed to keep pace with our diverse nation,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.   “As one of the fastest growing industries in the country, the lodging industry has opportunities for entry level positions, senior management positions, ownership and supplier diversity – a full spectrum of economic opportunity.”

According to the NAACP report, Opportunities & Diversity Report Card: Hotel & Lodging Industry, procurement with minority businesses is at “unacceptably low numbers” throughout the hotel industry.

“Of the corporations graded in the report, only 8% of total dollars spent for goods and services went to companies owned by people of color and a dismal 1% went to African American owned companies,” the report said.

According to the NAACP, the focus of the Report Card is to examine and grade the largest companies on their representation of African Americans and people of color. In addition to grading corporations on their diversity, the report cards highlight opportunities in the industry and the specific programs designed to strengthen full participation in the industry for people of color.

The report says that diversity and inclusion remains low specifically at the management, property ownership, and supplier diversity levels. Considerable gains must be made to better reflect the demographics of the United States–where communities of color make up one-third of the current population, the NAACP said.

The study also shows that 65% –or two out of three – hotel industry employees work in the service sector and it is projected that its five largest occupations – food preparation and serving workers, janitors, waiters and waitresses, restaurant cooks, and housekeeping cleaners – will add more than one million jobs in the next 10 years.

African Americans comprise the largest percentage of travelers of color in the United States, according to the NAACP report, and while the hotel industry is largely staffed by workers of color, African Americans are not receiving equitable treatment.

“They overpopulate entry-level and lower-wage positions while being underrepresented in higher-level, more lucrative positions, such as that of general manager,” the NAACP report says.

“With economic inequality at its highest levels in recent decades, it is important that the hotel and lodging industry provide access to jobs with livable wages, long-term career possibilities and contract opportunities for minority owned businesses particularly in African American and other economically disenfranchised communities,” said Dedrick Muhammad, NAACP Senior Director of Economic Programs.

The study also recommends improving access to programs, opportunities and career paths in the hotel industry for people of color. Several organizations, like the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality and the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, are already advancing some of these initiatives, according to the NAACP.

“The report card should serve as both an eye opener and a tool to encourage the graded corporations to strengthen job creation and wealth building opportunities for disenfranchised minorities,” said Leonard James, National NAACP Board Member and Chair of the Economic Development Committee.  “The NAACP looks forward to collaborating with these corporate leaders and diversity advocates over the next several years to advance industry inclusion, at all levels.”

Photo: (AP)

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7 thoughts on “ANALYSIS: Hotels' Dismal Hiring of Blacks

  1. Cooking and cleaning can be entry-level positions, Carl T. is right the mindset exists that these are the only things blacks are capable of doing. I believe that blacks can also manage the hotels and motels, not just change linen and towels or park the cars. I remember the challenge Tony Brown issued to black organizations. They did themselves and their people a disservice by not taking him up on it.

  2. Chris40 on said:

    This hotel thang reminders that years ago of Tony Brown. Years ago, Tony mentioned that Black organizations spend a lot of money having there conferences, meetings, get togethers, etc at these hotels, Tony issued a challenge to Black organizations to not go to conferences for a year and use the money to invest in a hotel or something like that.

  3. Carl T. Watson on said:

    I live in South Carolina, tourism is big business here from Charleston, to Hilton Head and of course Myrtle Beach. Many African Americans visit here, bring their family reunions here, and even the CBCI meets here, however the good ole boy system that still exist here believes that blacks can only cook and clean. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with those positions however you will find very few minorities in the guest services department and even fewer in the sales department and even less in in upper management . This report does not surprise me at all, and honestly it maybe even worse then the numbers say. It’s time we need to start spending our money with people who not only want our bread but who also want us in their boardroom.

  4. a.annehathaway on said:

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  5. This does not surprise me either….it is not only the hotels, it is a lot of organizations within the United States….I think it is awful that people can not hire you because of the color of your skin….I also think it is awful that we can’t even get a supervisor position let alone upscale management….Shit we can’t even get decent pay!!! I want someone to look into pay scales….I have 2 jobs and still can’t seem to make over $45,000.00 per year…..It is really beginning to piss me off….

  6. Chris40 on said:

    True dat on your post kecia j!!!! The NAACP is busy “begging” to get things and always helping “minorities” and “people of color.” Unfortunately, that’s what the NAACP does and I don’t pay them no mind,

  7. this doesn’t surprise me. I travel tremendously for my business and the hotels named only hire “some” minorities in metro areas ie Atlanta, New York, Miami. Otherwise, to see people “who are darker than blue” as the old Curtis Mayfield song stated, you have to stay at budget hotels, and those are now owned and operated by and large by Middle Eastern families and they don’t hire us either. We have to get our capital together folks and start our own businesses. I started mine on a shoe string and I make my bills, eat, drive and employ a few folks. There are barriers, yes! But once upon a time we had to have all of our “own” because “they” didn’t need us until they found out how much bread we were making. A funny movie that talks about this is “Harlem Nights” check it.

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