How can the food services and hospitality industry attract more women? - Westminster Kingsway College

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How can the food services and hospitality industry attract more women?

Tuesday 3 July 2018

 

Fewer than 20% of the 250,000 chefs in the UK are women, and the numbers are reducing year-on-year. It’s the same story across the whole food services and hospitality industry, and, with Brexit likely to reduce the size of the UK’s culinary and hospitality workforce still further, the industry needs to find ways to attract and retain more staff.

The UK’s women would seem a good place to start. So what can you do to recruit more women into your hotel, restaurant or food service business?

Westminster Kingsway College is the oldest and arguably, the UK’s leading hospitality and culinary school. With over 100 years of history, we have trained hundreds of chefs and every year our students graduate into culinary and hospitality jobs in the finest hotels and restaurants.

On 28 June, we sought to explore how the hospitality industry can raise its game and attract more women. At “A Profession For All”, some of the food industry’s biggest female names came together to discuss just that, and the resounding message for businesses was ‘ignore women at your peril’.

The panel, which included Andi Oliver (restaurateur, food broadcaster, and Great British menu judge), Ruth Hansom (first female winner of the Young National Chef of the Year) and Judy Joo (Korean-American restaurateur and TV chef) agreed that achieving a good gender balance leads to more creativity and profit. The panel identified four key things that business must do to attract and retain more women:

  1. Create a good working environment. Women often don’t feel comfortable in the male-dominated work spaces of the food industry.
  2. Leaders should beassertive but not aggressive and highly visible in their team, providing encouragement and developing a strong rapport between management and employees.
  3. Flexibility with hours and shifts. Many women (and men!) need to work non-standard hours – maybe because they have caring responsibilities, for children or older family members.
  4. Enable female leaders to mentor the younger generation. Having a good mentor can make a huge difference to someone’s career.

To find out more about the event and explore the panel discussion further, please head over to this blog, written by Hannah Hopkins from William Murray – a communications agency that specialises in food, drink and hospitality.

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