Benchmarking Workforce Diversity in the Travel/Hospitality Industry in California

by Lisa Abraham, Matthew D. Baird, Nicholas Broten

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Having a racially and ethnically diverse workforce is an important goal for any industry interested in improving efficiency and supporting equity. This paper examines diversity within the travel/hospitality industry in California. We find significant differences in earnings across races and ethnicities, with Blacks and Hispanics earning less than their white counterparts. These patterns have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in significant losses across the board, particularly for the non-college educated workers. However, despite existing inequities within the industry, travel/hospitality still exhibits lower earnings disparities for non-whites/non-Asians than other sectors in California. It also remains a steppingstone to a higher earning-job, particularly for those outside of the labor market. Nonetheless, the industry should continue to investigate ways to improve workforce racial and ethnic diversity, especially among higher paying and managerial jobs.

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