It's a depressing fact of life in the hospitality industry that the trajectory of the number of women it employs is in inverse proportion to its expanding total workforce. When you consider the industry's tendency towards a macho culture and its dearth of female role models, perhaps this trend is not surprising.
This would be a poor enough state of affairs even if it didn't come at a price to the industry. When you consider that an eye-watering £2.8b is spent by employers on filling the gaps left by women leaving the industry every year, the problem begins to look acute.
Clearly, as businesses seek to make every penny count in this turbulent economic climate, the ability to retain the services of the female of the species looks like a sure fire way of saving on the bottom line. But this isn't purely a matter of recruitment savings. Research shows that companies with a balanced leadership team and a generous dose of the female skill set are not only found to perform better, but are also less at risk of going bust.
As this week's Story of the Week reveals, Greene King and other companies are already hatching innovative ways of encouraging more women into the hospitality industry. By bringing a more feminine touch to its licensee workforce, Greene King is undoing the image of the traditional local boozer and attracting a burgeoning market of women with a growing disposable income.
Are you exploring new ways of offering support and flexibility to your female employees? If not, you could be harming your business and your coffers.
Janie Stamford, contract catering editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper