Travel companies will have to adapt their recruitment strategies to reflect changing demographics if they want to survive, WTM delegates were told.
Speaking at a session entitled Women Retaining Senior Roles in Travel in association with Travel Weekly, Harp Wallen managing director Kristina Wallen said although women rarely meet barriers to taking on jobs in the travel industry, they occupy too few top positions.
She said: “Statistics show by 2010 less than a third of the workforce will be males under 45, so businesses will have to embrace diversity if they want to cope in the modern world.”
Carlson Wagonlit director of human resources Sue Kavanagh said the travel industry was more welcoming to women than other industries, but still has a long way to go.
“The female talent pool is fantastic but women don’t always have the self-belief to push themselves forward. They need encouragement and guidance from their employer.”
Kavanagh and Wallen – who have both been lone females at board level – admitted it had often been scary climbing the career ladder.