March 14, 2022 | By Joyce DiMascio | Image: Kim Mahaffy, general manager of Pier One Sydney Harbour

In a week when companies put the spotlight on their workplace practices to mark International Women’s Day, Marriott International released new data on women in leadership across its suite of hotel brands.

It shows a growing number of women in senior roles, which it attributes to its wide range of programs designed to support their careers.

“Empowering women to advance their careers” is one of its key priorities as is the commitment to diversity and inclusion, Marriott says.

And it has set clear targets with the company aiming to achieve gender parity for all executive positions worldwide by 2023. It says that’s two years earlier than when they established the goal a few years ago.

The figures released by Marriott show the hotel group has 21 women leaders (managers and above) out of 59 in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands (ANZP).

Forty-two per cent of Marriott’s hotel on-property leaders in ANZP are women.

Globally women represent 54 per cent of Marriott’s workforce and in the Asia Pacific – excluding China – 33 per cent of women are in a management position.

Staying in APAC, around 40 per cent of the company’s management positions are held by women – but only one in six of Marriott’s hotel general managers in the ANZP region are women.

Marriott International’s director of human resources for ANZP Natasha Rasheed says Marriott’s FlexiFutures program, which allows a range of flexible work schedules will be of particular advantage for women. Although this is available to all employees, the policy will support women with family responsibilities she says.

Another one of the company’s pro-women policies is the “Life With the Works” campaign created to attract and retain top talent. Marriott says it offers “unmatched training hours and opportunities for career progression for all associates”.

Rasheed says in the last 12 months, more women became general managers at Marriott properties. These include Victoria Benevolenskaya appointed as general manager of Four Points by Sheraton, Sydney Central Park and Carolyn Smith becoming general manager of Courtyard by Marriott Melbourne Flagstaff Gardens.

However, over the last 12 months, Marriott has also appointed at least five male general managers to Marriott properties in Australia.

Kim Mahaffy, long-serving general manager at Pier One Sydney Harbour leads the Marriott’s women in leadership champions program.

“Our objectives for Australia New Zealand and the Pacific over the next few years are to create regular opportunities for women to network, share and grow,” she says.

The women’s leadership development initiative was the first of its kind and established over 20 years ago.