Compass targets female chefs with Women in Food programme

Compass Group has announced a drive to increase the proportion of female chefs in the business to 50% by 2020

The largest food services company in the UK and Ireland launched its Women in Food programme to tackle the shortage of women in the industry. “The Women in Food programme highlights our commitment to increasing the number of female chefs we employ in the business,” said Dennis Hogan, managing director for Compass Group, UK & Ireland. “We are delighted to have launched a scheme tha is actively looking to support female chefs with the right opportunities, development and training.”

As one of the largest private employers in the UK Compass employs around 60,000 people – among the 4,393 chefs women currently make up 35%. This in itself exceeds the industry standard by some margin.

Data from the UK’s Office of National Statistics show that there is a real need for initiatives like Women in Food in a heavily male-dominated sector. Fewer than one in five – or 18.5% – chefs in the UK are women. While the total number of chefs in employment in 2015 increased by 21,000, compared with the previous year, the number of female chefs decreased by 2,000 in the same period.

The business will increase investment in training and devlopment for female chefs alongside a company-wide review of working practices to identify areas where it is possible to introduce shift work and flexible working hours to attract more women. At the launch restaurateur Prue Leith said training is key. “The training of more women chefs is vital if we are to reach gender equality in the catering industry,” she said.

According to Hogan, Compass has worked to establish the reasons that are discouraging women from becoming chefs or continuing their chef career. “We hope by recognising and understanding the issues that through the development of Women in Food programme, we are now able to break down these barriers,” he said. Compass has set up a Women in Food board to oversee the programme and monitor the output.

Tina Nielsen





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