Wellness industry urgently requires diversification of workforce, says Rianna Riego
Leisure Opportunities
Job search
Job Search
see all jobs
Latest job opportunities
Chesterton Sports Centre
£18,426 - £18,795 per annum, pro rata
Chesterton Community College and Sports Centre, Cambridge UK
star job
Xercise4Less
Competitive
Rugby, UK
Burnley FC in the Community
£25,000 to £30,000 per annum
Burnley, UK
Leicester Grammar School
Competitive
Leicester, UK
Leigh Sports Village
£18,950 - £22,302
Leigh Sports Village, Wigan, UK

Wellness industry urgently requires diversification of workforce, says Rianna Riego

Job opportunities
Leicester Grammar School
Competitive
location: Leicester, UK
Burnley FC in the Community
£25,000 to £30,000 per annum
location: Burnley, UK
Chesterton Sports Centre
£18,426 - £18,795 per annum, pro rata
location: Chesterton Community College and Sports Centre, Cambridge UK, United Kingdom
more jobs

Industry consultant and self-claimed 'wellness passionista', Rianna Riego, believes the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has reawakened society to the reality of a system that still discriminates on the basis of colour, gender, age and religion – and the spa industry is no exception.

“Being a darker-skinned female and immigrant from a third world country, my career path in the US has been ‘coloured’ with many stories of bias and discrimination,” Riego told Spa Business.

“These experiences, unfortunately, at times included my beloved spa industry, which prides itself on being a diverse tribe of professionals. My personal experience of bias has tended to be subtle and part of the power dynamics within a company, but other incidents were more apparent.”

For example, after 20 years of experience opening, operating, designing and rebranding spas and wellness facilities, Riego had the opportunity to be the face and voice of a brand that she helped envision and develop.

“I was surprised to hear that some of the ownership weren’t comfortable with the idea of me representing the brand,” she explained, “I knew this wasn’t related to my levels of qualification but instead was due to the fact I was older and not white.”

At another facility, Riego shared that she was astonished when a co-owner scolded her for hiring a black male director for fear of ‘scaring’ the predominantly Jewish guests who may find his presence intimidating.

She also went on to say that she has extensive firsthand experience of guests indicating a preference to not have black, Hispanic, gay or older therapists, either verbally or by changing or cancelling their appointments.

“The spa experience is very personal and there are levels of comfort we should respect, but is the discomfort from a white woman being touched by a male African American therapist a cultural issue or privacy right? What should the ideals of our industry be and where do we draw the line?”

Riego feels these complex problems are exacerbated by sexism in the industry.

“Even in a female-dominated workforce, women aren’t fully represented in the corporate decision-making process or hierarchy in the industry in general,” she said.

Looking ahead towards solutions, Riego feels the demand for wellness services is growing but the experienced workforce is shrinking.

“Our industry has not been able to attract a proper representation of the millennial workforce which is now closer to 50 per cent non-white.

She believes it’s now crucial that the next-generation workforce sees more diversity at the helm currently, in order to attract them in future.

“As an industry that started out wanting to heal the world, we need to rediscover and articulate its commitment to humanity and that service is noble – this is our strength and we should champion it.

“Our industry was borne out of a passion to care for others and now has an opportunity to help heal the world while redefining how the world views wellness – as a lifestyle choice that embraces diversity as its norm.

“Make no mistake, my business success is due not only to my hard work but from people of all backgrounds believing in and supporting me. We can choose to reflect the good and tolerant in society and in doing so, set an example and attract a larger diverse workforce and customer.”

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Industry consultant and self-claimed 'wellness passionista', Rianna Riego, believes the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has reawakened society to the reality of a system that still discriminates on the basis of colour, gender, age and religion – and the spa industry is no exception.
SAB,CPW,CAS,WCM,PHR
2020/THUMB345918_646194_305869.jpg

More News

1 - 15 of 43,097
19 Jan 2021
Fitness, sport and leisure sector professionals who have continued to deliver services to their communities throughout the pandemic are to be celebrated at industry networking ... More
19 Jan 2021
Design specialist BRC Imagination Arts (BRC) has been selected to design and produce the World Food Center Experience in Ede, the Netherlands. The attraction will ... More
19 Jan 2021
Broadcaster and natural historian, Sir David Attenborough, will front a new virtual app which will allow users to explore exotic plants and animals in their ... More
19 Jan 2021
A national survey has launched to chart the mental health of the fitness and physical activity workforce. Undertaken in partnership with CIMSPA, the survey will ... More
18 Jan 2021
One of England's highest ranking police officers has called on government ministers to clearly define the maximum distance people are allowed to travel to undertake ... More
17 Jan 2021
Virtuagym, a leading provider of fitness technology for gyms and trainers, has announced the launch of PRO+, a new solution that enables operators to generate ... More
MyZone Group Ltd
MyZone Group Ltd
15 Jan 2021
Fitness First has launched a new free digital fitness hub, offering users a wide range of virtual classes and training sessions. Called FitX Player, the ... More
15 Jan 2021
The Gym Group has brought in Rio Ferdinand and Wais Shaifta as non-executive directors, signalling a broadening of its remit, new horizons and an intention ... More
14 Jan 2021
As the global vaccine rollout brings reopening closer and heralds the end of lockdowns, jostling is beginning for the resumption of live fitness industry events ... More
14 Jan 2021
Less than half (44.9 per cent) of children and young people in England met the recommended levels for exercise (60 minutes or more a day) ... More
13 Jan 2021
An England-wide survey of over 5,000 adults found that 80 per cent of people aged over 18 have made the decision to change their lifestyle ... More
12 Jan 2021
The government needs to provide the fitness and physical activity sector with a plan which will not only provide immediate, essential measures to secure its ... More
TVS Sport Surfaces
TVS Sport Surfaces
12 Jan 2021
Book4Time, a leading cloud-based business management solution for the global hospitality, spa and wellness industry, has received a significant growth investment from Serent Capital, a ... More
12 Jan 2021
Some Brits drop their exercise habits, eat unhealthily and drink more alcohol during lockdowns, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). A ... More
12 Jan 2021
The Museum of Military Medicine in the UK has received planning approval for a new building in the city of Cardiff. As a result, the ... More
1 - 15 of 43,097
fibodo Limited
fibodo Limited