Bringing women together in the industry

15/10/2009 - 00:00
Over 100 guests attended a launch of a new initiative from sector skills council People 1st earlier this week, which aims to bring together women who are working in the hospitality, leisure and travel and tourism industries.

Women 1st looks to address the issues affecting female employees across the hospitality workforce in particular their career progression and growth. Here are some key facts that have come out of the scheme: Given that 59% of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism workforce is female, the only job roles in the sector that are female-dominated are front of house hospitality roles, such as waiting staff, bar staff and catering assistants, and travel agency consultants. According to the One and All Foundation, only 6% of hospitality industry company directors are women, compared with an average across all industries of 12%. The proportion of female women managers in the hospitality industry fell from 49% in 2004/5 to 46% in 2007/8. The proportion of chefs who are male rose from 50% in 2003/4 to 60% in 2008. About 55% of women working in the sector do so on a part-time basis compared to 33% of men. Many women are working below their skill level in lower paid roles due to the limited availability of part-time work in more senior positions. The sector struggles to attract the large number of undergraduates who work in it casually while studying, into viewing the hospitality and leisure industry as a career choice on graduation. Men tend to earn more than women in most core sector occupations such as hotel managers, restaurant and catering managers, chefs, bar staff and waiting staff. However women working as receptionists, travel agents and kitchen assistants tend to earn more than their male counterparts. Despite the largely female workforce in the HLTT sector, the number of women working in senior positions is alarmingly low. Recent research by the University of Hertfordshire and talent management business Shine People and Places looked at why so few women are advancing into senior roles within the industry. Almost half of respondents agreed that women's progress within the sector is hampered by a lack of mentors and obvious female roles, and a substantial number agreed that in some cases the existence of a male culture and the attitudes of some managers are holding women back.

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