According to a survey released last month by the Travel Industry Association of America, Hispanic and Asian Americans are traveling to Las Vegas more than any other city, and gambling ranked as the top desired travel activity among 12 percent of Asian Americans and blacks. These statistics underscore the growing popularity of gaming among America’s minority populations, and their visits to gaming destinations will become even more frequent as minorities comprise an increasingly large percentage of the American consumer market.
Mindful of these trends, the American Gaming Association (AGA) has made diversity in employment and purchasing an industrywide priority. This commitment was solidified in 2000, when we created the AGA Diversity Task Force with the goal of respecting and promoting diversity in all aspects of the gaming industry. The task force has spearheaded an array of successful initiatives, facilitating research to determine the state of diversity in the gaming industry and developing events and programs that will lead us into the future.
In 2001, the AGA commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct an analysis of 2000 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data. Results of the survey yielded the first-ever baseline measurement for workplace diversity in the gaming industry. That study revealed that, four years ago, the gaming industry was already making significant progress in creating a diverse work force. This month, as part of the ongoing industrywide effort to promote inclusion in employment and purchasing, the AGA released our 2003 Gaming Industry Diversity Snapshot, an update of the 2000 baseline data that gives a clear picture of our progress in diversity hiring practices.
The 2003 snapshot, once again conducted by PwC, is based on 2002 EEOC reports from 138 participating casinos employing 255,757 workers—a 14 percent increase in participation and a 36.4 percent increase in the number of employees represented compared to the 2001 snapshot.
Compared with the broader group of hotels and amusement companies, the gaming industry is leading the way in creating a diverse work environment. Participating casinos employed more black workers in the top four job categories when compared with the broader industry, and they also employed a higher percentage of female workers. In fact, participating casinos employed more blacks and females in the highest-ranking job category—officials and managers—than the broader industry.
Overall, participating casinos employed more black workers in seven of the nine total job categories when compared to the broader industry. Participating casinos also employed a higher percentage of white, black and Asian Pacific/Islander workers, while a slightly lower percentage of Hispanics.
When compared with the overall work force in the 11 commercial casino states, as well as with the national work force, the gaming industry’s accomplishments in the area of employment diversity become even more apparent. Participating casinos employed an impressive 20.6 percent more minorities than other businesses in gaming states, and 17.4 percent more minorities than the total national U.S. work force. Participating casinos also employed more black executives, more white and black female executives, and more females overall than either of the two comparative groups.
The above data indicate that, two years after our initial benchmark study on work force diversity, the gaming industry has consistently remained ahead of its counterparts in creating employment opportunities for minorities. It should be noted, however, that more than half of the employment positions in the gaming industry work force are service worker positions, which comprise only 12 percent of the overall national work force. So, while comparisons indicate the gaming industry is doing a good job promoting diversity among entry-level workers, the data has not so far given an accurate picture of whether we have demonstrated similar success at more senior levels of employment.
To address this situation, the 2003 study also compared the industry against the national work force—both adjusted to exclude service worker positions. This comparison would establish a benchmark in this area and track our progress in creating opportunities for a diverse work force in senior level positions.
The results of these comparisons were quite striking. Even when service workers were removed from the equation, participating casinos consistently employed more minorities than their counterparts in other industries. Participating casinos employed more minority officials and managers among every ethnic category than the national U.S. work force, and they employed more minority workers in non-service segments. Overall, participating casinos employed 38 percent minority workers in the non-service sector, compared with 27.5 percent in the national work force.
I am extremely proud of the success demonstrated by the gaming industry in creating significant employment opportunities among our nation’s diverse populations. According to the 2003 study, the composition of the participating casinos’ work force is 52.9 percent white, 18.3 percent black, 18.3 percent Hispanic, 9.7 percent Asian Pacific/Islander, and 0.8 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native.
The research data was remarkably consistent from 2001 to 2003, indicating this is an ongoing commitment among our companies rather than a passing trend. We will mark our progress with periodic follow-up studies, and I am confident we will continue to lead the nation in this arena.
While employment snapshots have helped us monitor our progress on workplace diversity, we also are working to gather similar data for purchasing and contracting. The Diversity Task Force’s Subcommittee on Purchasing and Contracting set as its primary goal the development of a vendor diversity baseline study. This effort will be exceedingly complex, and preliminary work to lay the groundwork for the project already has begun.
With the workplace diversity snapshot, the new vendor diversity project on the agenda, as well as the development of an online diversity resource guide and the annual Opportunity Expo, I believe we are taking meaningful steps toward achieving real progress on an issue of considerable significance to our industry.