Despite making up 54% of hospitality workforce, women in the industry are underrepresented when it comes to claiming top roles, says luxury hospitality recruiter The Change Group.
The group analysed the last five years of employment data from the Office of National Statistics, including new data from the past 12 months.
It found that men make-up 58% of senior restaurant and catering roles. However, women outnumber men in what are termed 'elementary services occupations', making up seven out of 10 waiting staff, three out of five kitchen and catering assistants.
Women account for less than one in four of the total number of chefs in the UK. However, the number of female chefs grew by 34% over the past 12 months; the biggest single rise over the past five years. Two thirds of women work part time, compared to a third of men.
'It is worrying that the majority of senior roles are being taken by men, and also that so many women are working part time,' Craig Allen, founder and director of The Change Group, said. 'On the one hand, this means that they have more flexibility, which could encourage more women to work in hospitality.
'Equally, it could also affect the opportunities open to women, as many senior roles are full time. This means that despite the hard numbers, arguably the overall impact which women are having in the hospitality sector is smaller, because so many are working in junior roles and part time.
'The surge in the number of female chefs joining the industry over the past 12 months could indicate that they are an important source of talent at a time which is vital as the hospitality sector continues to face a dire talent shortage. We may see more women rise to the fore, so the future in terms of employment could be brighter than anticipated for the industry.'