Christie feels that increasing the amount of women into the industry is a positive move: “Nature alone creates a balanced relationship between men and women,” she commented. “I work for a company that has a good balance of men and women in senior positions. I think it’s a case of making the knowledge available that we are out there and, yes, we too can do a job equally as well as our counterparts.”
Women working at catering equipment suppliers are also seemingly in the minority. As Lucy Connell, sales administrator of specialist crockery handling system supplier, Mobile UK Ltd, reported: “Compared to the retail industry, in which I worked previously, there are fewer women in senior roles. This is only partially explained by women being employed less ‘visibly’ in administrative and finance positions.”
She believes: “The high profile of the hospitality business on the high street and in the media should make our industry attractive to men and women. The route to the top of the catering equipment industry is often through sales management. Sales people usually have either a craft or a technical background – perhaps the technical route into sales may be a bar to women?”
Connell detailed: “I’m lucky to be part of a very small team where I get to be involved in every aspect of the business. If someone does want to deal with my (male) colleague, it’s usually down to their experience in our industry in comparison to mine. Any different treatment has only been really obvious to me when I’ve been in a technical environment – a group addressed as ‘gents’ was swiftly changed to ‘folks’!”
Commenting that females are outperforming males at every level of education, she feels: “These young women who are entering the workplace are going to be very ambitious. Employers who appreciate this can only gain from it. Participation in graduate fairs by our trade associations would be an excellent way to attract women with high academic achievement in to our industry.
“Employers should encourage women to take advantage of the networking opportunities that already exist, such as exhibitions and trade association activities.”