Women ‘missing out’ on UK hospitality boom

Women hold fewer managerial roles and work fewer hours than men in hospitality, meaning they are ‘missing out’ on excelling in the sector, new data suggests.

An analysis of the last five years of employment data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), including new data from the past 12 months, by luxury hospitality recruiter The Change Group shows a shift in how women are working in hospitality, albeit mostly part time and at a more junior level.

The figures showed there has been significant growth in the number of female chefs, up 34% in the last 12 months. This was the fastest growth in five years. However, less than one in four (23.5%) of the total number of chefs in the UK is female.

The number of male chefs in the UK increased by only 5.9%, and the total number of chefs rose by 11.3%, meaning the growth of female chefs is outpacing the rise in the number of chefs working in hospitality as a whole.

If the rate of growth in female and male chefs remains consistent, female chefs could potentially outnumber male chefs by 2022. However, this can be impacted by the fact that women work less hours – only a third of men work part time, while only a third of women work full time.

The data also showed that there are consistently more women than men working in hospitality with current figures reporting that 54% of hospitality workers are female.

However, men dominate senior managerial roles as well as ownership of restaurants and catering establishments. On average over the past five years, 58% of senior restaurant and catering staff have been men to only 42% women.

Meanwhile, women dramatically outnumber men in what are termed “elementary services occupations” within the ONS data.

Over the past five years, three out of five kitchen and catering assistants have been women, however that is changing as the figure is declining from 67% in 2013 to 62% in 2017. Seven out of 10 waiting staff are also female.

Craig Allen, founder and director of The Change Group, said: “It is great to see that there are more female chefs and that this figure has leapt up in the past year. However, it is worrying that the majority of senior roles are being taken by men, and also that so many women are working part time.

“On the one hand, this means that they have more flexibility, which could encourage more women to work in hospitality. Equally, it could also affect the opportunities open to women, as many senior roles are full time. This means that despite the hard numbers, arguably the overall impact which women are having in the hospitality sector is smaller.”

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