Number of women publicans at five-year low

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Distressing drop: only one in three publicans is now a woman (Image: monkeybusinessimages/thinkstock.co.uk)
Distressing drop: only one in three publicans is now a woman (Image: monkeybusinessimages/thinkstock.co.uk)

Related tags: Public house, Employment, Bar, Government

The number of women licence holders has fallen by almost 44% in the past five years, according to new analysis by specialist hospitality recruiter The Change Group.

The organisation has revealed that women have been "the biggest losers" in the decline of public houses, using analysis based on recently published employment data from the Office of National Statistics, as well as historical data that shows a steady decline in the number of people working in pubs.

Most notably, the number of women licence holders has fallen by almost 44% in the past five years, while the number of male licensees has declined by less than 22%.

As a result, only one in three publicans is now a woman, whereas five years ago, two out of five publicans were female. Overall, the number of female publicans and managers of licensed premises stands at a five-year low, down 30% from five years ago and 45% from three years ago, according to the results.

There has also been a decline of 13% in the number of catering and bar managers and an 8% decline in the number of bar staff in the past five years.

Very distressing

Commenting on the figures, co founder and director of The Change Group, Craig Allen, said, “The decline in the number of pub jobs is very distressing, especially the fact that women pub owners have been among the biggest losers.

"Running a pub is as much a lifestyle choice as a job. Pubs have also been an important area of entrepreneurship for women despite the fact that senior pay is lower than in other parts of hospitality." 

He added: “Successful pubs now need an outstanding food offering to compete and this is tough. They need to hire skilled chefs at a time when talent is scarce and as a result can command higher salaries. Coupled with rising costs as a result of inflation and a weak pound, this creates a very hard proposition, especially for smaller independents.

“So while it is great to see such growth in hospitality employment overall, it is a shame that this is happening against a backdrop of rapid decline in British pubs, and in particular among female owners.”

Earlier in the month the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) called on the Government to take action and support the hospitality sector​ after figures showed job creation had fallen in the sector.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said at the time: "This shock drop in the number of jobs created in the last quarter shows that eating and drinking-out businesses are approaching a crucial tipping point and proactive support for the Government is needed without delay".

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