Women underrepresented in meat industry workforce - new report


The Cattle Site

13 October 2020


New report shows that women make up 36 percent of meat industry work force, 14 percent of board-level director positions and 5 percent of executive roles.


A new international report has for the first time established how many women are working within the meat sector. It found that women make up only 36 percent of the meat industry workforce and are under-represented at every level above junior positions, holding just 14 percent of board-level director roles and just 5 percent of chief executive roles.


The independent report, commissioned by Meat Business Women, also identified several "broken rungs" in the career ladder that prevent women in the meat sector from advancing to more senior roles. It suggests women find it easier to pursue careers in Marketing, Finance, HR, R&D and Quality fields – however those disciplines still rarely act as stepping stones into the most senior positions.


Meat Business Women founder Laura Ryan says a lack of gender representation is putting at risk the future success and sustainability of the meat sector. “This report should be a wake-up call for the meat sector. Our findings show just how much the meat industry is lagging behind other sectors, including grocery, when it comes to creating workplaces that attract and promote female talent. In doing so, it is failing to reap the rewards that come from creating and nurturing a diverse workforce.”


Ryan continues: “It’s been asserted that companies which have executive committees with female membership of at least 33 percent have a net profit margin over ten times greater than those companies with no women at that level. Fundamentally businesses with diverse workforces are more profitable and have better share prices”.


The new report, which draws on survey data from the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, highlights that the lack of formalised mentoring, networking opportunities and senior female role models is a particular source of frustration for women in the sector.


The report finds that visible role models who lead in an aspirational way help attract and retain talent within an organisation. The report flags though that by having relatively low numbers of women in senior roles the meat industry gives the impression that leadership positions are either not available or not suited to women.


Ryan says: