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New Report Finds Increasing Gender Diversity in Foodservice Industry Boosts Bottom Line


A new white paper from the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) explores how increasing the representation of women in the foodservice distribution industry will boost profitability and competitiveness. The report, Recruitment and Retention of Women: Enhancing Inclusion and Diversity, contends that while achieving a more inclusive workforce requires senior leadership to commit time and resources, there is significant return on investment.

Key Findings
  • Gender diversity is associated with increased sales revenue, more customers, and greater relative profits. Companies with the highest representation of women in their top management teams see a higher return on equity than companies with low female representation.
  • Gender diversity helps companies connect with an evolving customer base with the number of women-owned restaurant businesses increasing significantly in recent years.  
  • A diversity of perspectives is linked with better decision-making and problem-solving as well as increased innovation and creativity.
  • A commitment to diversity helps with recruitment and retention of the workforce. As a workforce, millennials are the most diverse generation and they value inclusion.
The report also highlights that despite the apparent economic benefits, there are many current barriers to achieving gender diversity including:
  • Lack of female representation is often not recognized as a problem. When it comes to opportunities and representation, men believe there is more equitability than women.
  • Fewer women are being hired into entry-level corporate positions, although more women are receiving college degrees. With fewer women in the pipe line, representation continues to decline at every level with women representing only a small percentage of the C-Suite.
  • On average, women are promoted at lower rates than men.  Women are seen to be more skilled when entering the workforce, but it is men who are viewed as better prepared for longitudinal success.
  • The wage gap for college-educated women continues to grow throughout their career.  While the “family man” is viewed as more stable and receives pay raises for having families, women are penalized for starting families and requesting flexibility.
  • Women are typically seen as risk-adverse in management, yet this is not supported by research. Moreover, research indicates risk-taking activities by women often remain invisible in organizations.
The IFDA Womens Leadership Committee commissioned the paper. To access the full report, including best practices and resources for increasing gender diversity, click here.