Hospitality's gender pay gap narrows but women still earn less

16 November 2016 by
Hospitality's gender pay gap narrows but women still earn less

Women continue to earn less than men in equivalent jobs in the hospitality and tourism business, but this is due to the types of jobs and the setting in which they take place rather than sexual discrimination, according to a new study by People 1st.

The gap between the sexes has been narrowing since 2011 and in some instances by considerable amounts. For instance, women working as chefs earned 15% less than men per annum in 2011, which is now down to 9% and the gap for those working as receptionists has narrowed by 17% between 2011 and 2015.

However, women are consistently earning less than men at an operational level, although this varies across different roles. The greatest disparity in earnings is between men and women working as cooks, with men earning on average £3,678 more, whereas men working as chefs earn £1,863 on average than female chefs.

Women are also consistently losing out at managerial levels, apart from conference and exhibition managers where women earning £591 more than men. However, the pay differential is much more varied and is greater overall compared to operational roles.

The differences in pay are unlikely to be the result of sexual discrimination, but rather reflect the types of setting in which women tend to work, the report asserted. Cooks, for example, can be found across the whole sector, but it is a loose job term and can mean different things in different work contexts. Women tend to work as cooks in schools, which pay less compared to cooks in restaurants, where more men are found, it explained.

That said, women still earn 25% less an hour, on average, which is likely to reflect the pay differentials in different hospitality industries, the research contends, where more women are found working in the public sector. It also points out inconsistencies, such as although, the gap between male and female pay for those working as publicans has narrowed by 9% since 2011 and the gap for restaurant managers has increased by 14%. The disparity for women working as hotel and accommodation managers amounts to almost £12,000 a year.

Martin-Christian Kent, executive director, research and policy observed: "Our analysis shows that, with the exception of catering and kitchen assistants, the pay gap between men and women is narrowing. Nonetheless, critically the gap at managerial level is wider than in operational roles, so there is still work to be done."

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