- Hiring more women in the food services industry raises companies profitability and competitiveness, a whitepaper by the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) shows. When senior leaders devote time and resources to creating a more inclusive workplace, the return on investment is significant, according to the report, Recruitment and Retention of Women: Enhancing Inclusion and Diversity.
- Other key findings in the report show that companies with the highest number of women in leadership positions have higher returns on equity than companies with fewer women; perspectives from diverse sources are linked to better problem-solving, decision-making, creativity and innovation; and a commitment to diversity attracts millennials, who, as the most diverse generation, value inclusion.
- The report also points out the following barriers to inclusion: men think women have equal representation and opportunities in the workplace, while women recognize the disparities between them. Although more women are earning college degrees than men, they're not being hired for entry-level corporate positions; women are promoted less often than men; and as men are rewarded with pay raises for supporting families, women are punished for having families and experience wage gaps throughout their careers if they're college-educated.
The IFDA paper affirms the findings of other reports, including a recent Georgetown University study on pay inequality and a 2017 report by McKinsey and LeanIn.org on cultural bias against women. Employers that shore up their diversity and inclusion processes may have a competitive advantage in a fast-moving business environment.
Although the IFDA report doesn't specifically zero in on benefits that support women, paid family leave policies tend to go a long way for women employees, as women tend to face tougher long-term consequences for taking time off for caregiving.
The restaurant industry and retailers in general are beginning to broaden such benefits offerings for hourly workers. Noodles & Company, a national chain of fast-casual restaurants, recently announced its #LifeatNoodles initiative, part of its goal is to become one of the best places to work by 2020. High turnover remains a common problem among hourly employees in the restaurant industry, but by offering benefits workers find attractive, restaurants hope to improve their retention rates and be more competitive in the tight labor market.