The hospitality sector seems to be steering the way for more gender balance within our businesses, with studies finding that the gender pay gap is closing at a rapid pace compared to other industries.

According to figures from luxury hospitality recruitment company The Change Group, the average salary of female hospitality staff has increased at a faster rate than male counterparts to narrow the sector’s gender pay gap.

According to a report issued on April 1st that conducted data from more than 300 hospitality businesses, found that, on average, men working in the sector are paid 6.5% more than their female counterparts, decreasing from 8.5% in the past 12 months.

2019 is the second year in which it has been a legal requirement for organisations with more than 250 employers to report their gender pay data to the government.

According to The Change Group, these figures are higher due to the surge in female applicants for hospitality jobs. The recruiter noted that, in 2018, the number of women applying to work in the sector increased by almost half (45.4%) while the number of male employees seeking work declined by 12.6%. Moreover, more than half (53.3%) of all applicants looking to work front of house were women.

According to The Change Group, salaries for female chefs and kitchen employees working back of house in venues in London increased by an average of 24.4% in 2018, or £6,136 in real terms versus 2017. Meanwhile, back-of-house salaries for male employees increased by 13.3%, or £3,859 versus the previous year. However, front-of-house salaries for female waiting staff and managers rose by 3.4% or £983 compared to a 7.1% decrease for male front-of-house staff – an average drop of £2,343 per annum.

A similar study was conducted by The Caterer, who analysed more than 350 large hospitality businesses and found that men in the industry are paid an average of 3.45% more than women. The Caterer found that among the highest gender pay gaps in the industry for the period is Ei Group – the largest pub company in the UK – which operates with a median hourly wage that is 48% lower for women than men. While the firm has narrowed its pay gap compared to the previous year by three percentage points, 85% of the highest paid jobs are still done by men, while 76% of the lowest paid are performed by women.

Jim O’Brien, director of The Change Group, said: “The past year has seen strong growth in the number of women applying to work in hospitality, in their salaries as well as in their access to senior positions. Our data indicates a gender pay gap among London’s luxury and fine-dining establishments of less than 6%, which is below the national average for the sector.

“Women represent a huge talent opportunity for the hospitality sector. We are seeing more and more companies tailor-make job opportunities to appeal to and attract further women, especially to work as chefs.The data demonstrates the successful efforts that top hospitality employers are making to smash the glass ceiling for female employees.”

Of the 379 hospitality firms assessed by The Caterer, the gender pay gap rose year on year for 42% of businesses, while the rate lowered for 44%. Across all industries the pay gap among those who had reported showed a 9.7% imbalance in favour of men and analysis has shown hospitality to have the lowest gap of any industry.

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash