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    International Women’s Day: Celebrating The Elite Women

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Currently, there are over 1.05m women working in the hospitality industry, of which 49% work in operational roles and 11% in managerial roles. Across the hospitality and tourism sector the pay gap between men and women is narrowing, but women are still earning on average 12% less than men.

In light of International Women’s Day on 8th March, we wanted to highlight just some of the amazing women who make Elite who we are, from waitresses to chefs to managers to hr and finance departments, we couldn’t operate without them! We discussed their careers so far, and some advice on what it takes to make it as a woman in the hospitality industry.

Tracy, HR Manager

When I came into the industry many years ago it was a very different industry to the one it is now and it’s great to see so many women now holding senior roles. It’s always been a challenging industry based upon the perception of exactly what the industry is, long hours etc and for many it was/is deemed as only ever short term.

I have worked across many different areas within hospitality both back and front of house during my management development training. It was during this time that I realised where I wanted to specialise in the industry. It was always going to be a challenge for me to get to where I wanted to be, but I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to learn and develop alongside my work and with sheer hard work and determination I was able to achieve this.

Considering a career in hospitality? All paths and aspirations are different. For me it was all about gaining as much knowledge and understanding as I could on how each part of the business operates, starting initially at a lower level, putting myself forward, displaying my drive, determination and capabilities and working my way up through the ranks. This enabled me to have a complete understanding of each part of the business and how it operates which I believe stood me in good stead for the progression/career path I wished to take.

The message is getting out there that hospitality is a great industry to get into, it’s an ever-changing industry, trends are constantly changing, new ideas and initiatives are evolving and that’s what’s so great about hospitality, the industry doesn’t stand still and no 2 days are ever the same!

Grace, Sales and Marketing Manager

I have been in the hospitality industry for 17 years and worked through many different departments starting from pub team member to Group Sales & Marketing Manager of Elite Pubs. When I started out working in the hotel industry, most of the management team was male in the food and beverage industry – so to fit in I became ‘one of the lads’. When I was introduced to the General Manager I found her a huge inspiration, she developed my career and gave me great opportunities within the hotel.

In hotels, when dealing with complaints as a young female, I sometimes found it hard as some of the customers did not respect my decisions and looked down on me and thought I was too young. After being in the hotel for several years I saw an influx of women managers, and it gave me a sense of empowerment.

I have always loved working in hospitality, you get to make great friends and the laughter you have every day is amazing, especially seeing more women in more senior roles! It’s not always plain sailing when you are working the earlies into the lates and dealing with fire evacuations at 3am but it’s a worthwhile experience.

I am excited about my future at Elite with new projects always arising and new skills to be learnt, no 2 days are the same! My advice to women aspiring to work in senior roles in hospitality is that there is nothing wrong with being a strong woman with opinions and being ambitious. I fought for everything I wanted and without the support of my teams throughout the year I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Michelle, Manager at The Pheasant Plucker, Ide Hill

In the early days of my career (mid 1990’s), being a women in hospitality was tough, you weren’t respected, as it was very much a male-orientated industry, you were just a barmaid who pulled pints. However, over the years more and more women have chosen hospitality as a career and have proved they are just as capable as men.

Having said that, I’ve had to work hard over the years to get to the management level of the industry, and feel I’ve had a lot more to prove. But, once you’re there, it’s a great job, no two days are the same and you get to meet some amazing people.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all a bed of roses as some days are tougher than others, but the good ones outweigh the bad. I feel I’ve achieved the goal I set myself 28 years ago when I first started in hospitality and have become a General Manager of a fantastic pub with an amazing team behind me and couldn’t ask for more.

For anyone who wants to get into the industry, I’d just say as long as you work hard and love what you do anything is possible, just learn as much as you can and learn from any mistakes you make. Take any criticism as a positive, not a negative, something I’ve struggled with over the years, but no criticism is bad, it just makes you a stronger person in the long run. And most importantly, believe in yourself, you’re capable of anything you put your mind to.

Francesca, Group Financial Controller

I started my accounting career in practice accounting (tax returns/year end accounts) working full time and studying for my professional qualification in my holidays/weekend. It was unrelenting and exhausting! I was moved into the audit team, which gave me experience working with clients on-site, learning more about their respective industries. I loved the client work – hated the audit part! Once I’d finished my qualification, I decided to move to Australia, to get a fresh perspective and try something new. Last year I came back into the hospitality industry, when I got my job as Group Financial Controller at Elite Pubs.

Further equality for females in the field of finance and management: it’s historically been male-dominated in management and still is, even in today’s “woke” world, women are in the minority statistically. This can feel intimidating and create a career blocker for females coming into the finance field, but we are slowly shifting towards ladies having a voice & being allowed to express their unique personality without negative perceptions attached to that, which is fantastic. I work with some truly inspiring, clever, and strong ladies & it really motivates me that we can all shine and be respected together, uninhibited by gender bias. Let’s get the world on board!

Some advice for anyone wanting to get into the role in the industry: Explore all the different fields of accounting, there’s huge variation available once you qualify: specialisms/job roles/industries/overseas opportunities/management – so get out there and explore your options until you find the right fit for you. It can take time and courage, but it’s worth it!

These are just some of the amazing women who contribute to making Elite the best pub experience around.

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