Women are present in some parts of management, not all

Women are present in some parts of management, not all

  • Nick Sortal, CDC Gaming Reports
April 19, 2018 9:54 PM
  • Nick Sortal, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Other

When it comes to female representation in upper management, Native American casinos are doing better than commercial casinos, note two UNLV experts who study ​women in gaming​​​​.

But there’s still a long way to go, and the data point to a couple of obvious needs for improvement.

“The numbers actually are higher now than they were 20, 30 years ago,” said Dr. T​oni​ Repetti, of the Harrah College of Hospitality Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “We’ve gotten better, we’re not just there yet.”

Repetti and Shekinah Hoffman,​ ​special project​ coordinator​ at the UNLV ​International ​Gaming Institute, parsed data from the December 2016 Casino ​City’s Gaming Directory. That data showed that approximately 45 percent of midlevel managers are women, but only about half that many are all the way up to the vice presidents’ level.

“We call that a leaky pipeline,” Hoffman, a doctoral student who has also worked for the American Gaming Association and Global Gaming Women, said.

The data they found was very consistent with what Repetti and Hoffman saw in the commercial area.

“A lot of that is because they operate similarly,” Repetti, who spent 20 years in commercial and Indian gaming operations, including serving as a tribal casino corporate director of finance. “We’re fighting for the same pool of people.”

Tribal properties actually have a higher percent of female managers​, ​37.8 percent, as ​compared to the​ 35.5 percent​ of commercial and tribal U.S. casinos combined.

While the overall numbers may be encouraging, the deeper dive reveals some warts. Repetti cited the Casino City’s study noted above to illustrate the work yet to be done on management equality and said that those women that do make it to the top are often in human relations, advertising or public relations, departments traditionally dominated by women.

The pair also noted that diversity in leadership breeds innovation and performance.

“It’s just a good business decision,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman also discussed reasons why the numbers aren’t 50-50. There are internal barriers, such as not aspiring to advance higher; lack of self-confidence; and lack of aggressiveness, outspokenness or power ​when it comes to negotiating value in the workplace. Women are also more likely to internalize negative messages about their performance.

Then there are the external barriers, such as a lack of mentoring, sponsorship and role models, ​outdated work cultures, and social exclusion from informal networks — which are relied​ on​ heavily​ for promotion, they note.

They also acknowledged barriers of the ‘Old Boys Network,’ poor opportunities, discrimination, stereotyping and preconceptions.

“We don’t have the answers, but we have the result,” Repetti said. “We know now we have an issue. Maybe there are certain departments we can start with. Could we start with the casino department and get a bigger bang for our buck?”

Hoffman also put a shout-out for Global Gaming Women, which was created to help females develop professionally and expand their personal and professional success.

About 35 women attended the session. No male conventioneers chose to attend.