Nationality pay gap rivals gender in hospitality industry

An analysis of pay based on candidates registered in 2017 with luxury hospitality recruiter, The Change Group, revealed significant levels of pay disparity by gender, nationality as well as job function.

Across all roles and nationalities, there is a 7.3% gender pay gap across the hospitality sector, which equates to men being paid on average £2,000 more than women.

Meanwhile, there was also a nationality pay gap as British workers were found to be paid on average 20.3% more than employees from other EU countries, or over £5,800 per year more, and 14.4% more than those from non-EU countries, or over £4,300 more.

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Overall, front of house, EU workers are paid 19% less than British employees (£5,705) and those from other parts of the world are paid 12.2% less (£3,891). Meanwhile, the gender pay gap is 10.8%, with women front of house paid on average £3260 less than men.

The gap decreases among more junior front of house waiters and waitresses, where the gender pay gap is only 2%. In this instance, UK employees were paid 4% less than those from either other EU or non-EU countries. The group suggested that this could be because these are among the lowest paid roles in hospitality and are often at minimum wage level.

The gender pay gap rises to 11.5% back of house, with male chefs earning on average almost £3,000 more than women. The nationality pay gap is also higher in the kitchen than front of house with British employees being paid on average 15.1% or around £4,000 more than workers from the European Union, and 10.4% (almost £3,000) more than workers from other non-EU countries.

The gender pay gap among front of house managers is the highest of all at 13.7%. Meanwhile, British hospitality managers are paid on average 12.5% more than EU employees (almost £4,000) and 10.5% more than those from other non-EU countries (£2,500).

Sommeliers from all nationalities retain their pay premium among other front of house employees, earning on average 19.5% more.

Women working in pubs and bars are paid on average 8.4% (£2,279) less than men. There is also a significant ‘nationality pay gap’ in bar salaries, with UK workers being paid on average 4.8% (£1,384) more than those from other EU countries.

Craig Allen, found and director of The Change Group, said: “Our annual research shows that people largely work in hospitality because they love the industry but remuneration has to be fair to help the industry become more sustainable and for equality to prevail, which is why we undertake this analysis. If we want to help the industry challenge the US or Asia as best destination for service and food culture then we need to start here by paying a fair wage for a fair job regardless of gender or nationality.

“Many restaurants fall below the government’s 250 plus employee threshold for reporting gender pay gap data, which means they may not be aware that there is an issue. Our data reveals that while at 7.3%, the hospitality gender pay gap may be lower than in other sectors, it is still significant and should be addressed. Female talent has a vital role to play in developing UK hospitality, and this gender pay gap could put many women off joining or staying in the industry.”

He added: “While gender is currently the hot topic, we think the nationality pay gap is also an important agenda for discussion as the right level of pay has a part to play in attracting talent from overseas. It is vital to our industry to ensure that talent of all nationalities have access to the same pay and career development opportunities. The Brexit negotiations have still not clarified the status of EU nationals after 2019. There are already fewer people from the EU migrating to the UK looking for work in hospitality, and many EU citizens are moving back home. This disparity in salaries may encourage more to leave and stay away and as we have read recently, many chefs, hoteliers and restaurateurs are rightly at their wits end trying to deal with shortages in their operations.

“We would strongly urge hospitality employers to examine salary levels for different types of employees to ensure fairness for all and that the best talent is well rewarded. This is vital to retaining and attracting talent during the continuing and ongoing candidate shortage.”

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