Gender pay gap is below the national average


As CH&Co Group continues to grow, both organically and through mergers & acquisitions, it is clearer than ever that our strength is our people. We value each and every team member, and recognise the importance of gender diversity and inclusivity. As a leading independent catering services company where women make up the majority of employees, a diverse and inclusive workforce is integral to our success.

By reporting on CH&Co Group’s Gender Pay Gap, a legal requirement from April 2017 of all companies and its legal entities employing more than 250 employees, we also hope to contribute towards accelerating the overall progress of women in society.

While the statistics are important -- and we are pleased that ours indicate a gender pay gap below the national average -- we know that how we and our individual divisions respond to the challenges posed by the findings are equally vital. Creating an environment and culture that allows women to achieve their potential and be happy at CH&Co Group is a key strand of our purpose and promise as a company.

While we have done our best to provide as accurate and meaningful a report as possible, we do need to issue certain caveats in regard to the data used in our analysis. This is due to high level of merger & acquisition activity by CH&Co Group during the twelve months to the Snapshot Date of 5th April 2017, as well as the ongoing integration of several payroll systems into one. These are:

  • Insufficient data to report on casual employees based on their average pay over the 12 weeks preceding the snapshot period. Contractual hourly rates for this group have been used instead.
  • Absence of:
    • data on certain allowances (e.g. first aid) for a small number of employees
    • some information about a number of employees taking maternity leave o some contracted hours for a number of employees o some pension information

Notwithstanding, the overall trend shows that as a company we can do more to narrow the gap.  It is a challenge that I, together with our leadership team, will continue to work towards. We look forward to reporting on our progress in the years to come.

Alison Gilbert

CH&Co Group Human Resources Director, April 2018


Gender Pay Gap Statistics for Overall CH&Co Group including legal entities

CH&Co Group is an independent catering and hospitality group with a diverse portfolio of specialist businesses providing innovative catering, event and service solutions for business & industry, education, healthcare, iconic venues and well-known visitor attractions.

The company was formed in June 2015 with the merger of CH&Co and Host Catermasters. Since then, up to and beyond the Snapshot Date of 5th April 2017, CH&Co Group has grown, adding new entities to its family of companies, the most recent coming on board in December 2017. CH&Co now operates in over 750 sites in the UK and Ireland.

Together with its various legal entities, including those with less than 250 employees, CH&Co Group has a workforce of over 6,000, 59% being female and 41% male. Women comprise 57% of the company’s Management Board. Our overall median gender pay gap of 6.03% is below the national average of 18.4%.

Proportion of male & female employees according to quartile pay bands

Gender Pay Gap – The difference between the average hourly earnings for male and female employees, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is not the same as equal pay, which is about receiving the same pay for the same work.

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 require relevant organisations comprising multiple legal entities to report each relevant entity separately 

Reasons for our Gender Pay Gaps

Two-thirds (59%) of our overall workforce is female. Our analysis indicates that our overall median gender pay gap is 6.03%, below the national average, as are the gender pay gaps of two of our legal entities employing over 250 people -- CH&Co Catering Limited (7.7%) and H+J and Upfront (7%).

We attribute our gender pay gap chiefly to the fact that our female staff are disproportionately represented in the lower quartiles.

This is particularly true in the education sector. Our education workforce is comprised mainly of female team-level employees sharing the same pay grade.  Many of these lower paid jobs (e.g. catering assistants) offer greater flexibility, with opportunities for part-time and termtime contract work.

Traditionally, such roles are attractive to women as they allow them to meet the demands of caring for the family (i.e. childcare arrangements, working school hours, benefiting from school holidays) even as they highlight the ‘motherhood penalty’ leading to gender pay gaps. And while we operate non-discriminatory recruitment practices, the fact remains that the recruitment pool for these jobs tend to be predominantly female.

Generally, female representation diminishes in the upper middle and upper quartiles. This is where ‘occupational segregation’ comes to the fore: men tend to occupy our more senior, higher-paid, higher-skilled roles (e.g. chefs, operations managers) which also tend to be fulltime. This is particularly true in our business and industry sectors, which form a large part of our business.

That said, one of our subsidiaries, Catermasters, has more women than men employed in middle management. The dynamics that have contributed to this situation is something CH&Co Group wishes to look into and learn from.

Reasons for our Bonus Pay Gaps

At CH&Co, we are committed to recognising exceptional performance, and not unlike other companies in the service industry, we base bonuses as a percentage of salary. However, what has contributed to our bonus pay gap is the fact that so many of our workforce are females working in part-time roles in the lower quartiles where bonuses do not form part of their pay and conditions. We share the widely held view in industry that companies such as ours should open avenues for the advancement of women to higher-skilled, highly-remunerated careers, and that we should support and encourage them along the way.

In addition, as we work to integrate our various legal entities fully into CH&Co Group, over time we hope to be able to put into place consistent, robust pay practices and grading structures across the company.

Closing our Gender Pay Gap

At CH&Co Group, we are committed to encouraging and supporting women to reach their full potential and to build rewarding careers in our family of companies. We are planning, and/ or are in the process of implementing, a range of initiatives to close our gender pay gap, and to further promote gender diversity and inclusivity. Among these are:

  1. Promoting our Chef’s Academy to our female colleagues with the aim of increasing the number of women entering and progressing into chef roles.

Launched in February 2017, our Chef’s Academy runs an exciting and innovative programme of help and support for chefs at all levels, as well as colleagues who may be interested in developing a career as a chef, to grow their skills, expertise and experience across our diverse group of companies. Our aim is to empower our colleagues and teams and grow our own pool of chefs, investing in their future by offering apprenticeships, stand-alone courses, educational trips and mentoring, among others.

  1. Taking steps to recruit more men into the education sector; promoting Education Catering as a career destination.
  2. Sharing the results of our Gender Pay Gap Report with everyone on our teams to raise awareness and encourage an on-going conversation on diversity and inclusion, challenging and changing behaviours.
  3. Continuing to promote our Leadership Academy to our female colleagues to grow our pool of senior female talent.

Our Leadership Academy offers Leadership Apprenticeships aimed at developing vital skills in preparation for senior roles within the company. Areas covered include project management, leading people, managing people, communications and finance.

Gender Pay Gap Statistics for our Legal Entities

CH&Co Catering Limited

CH&Co Catering Limited – CH&Co Catering Limited is the founding company of what would evolve into CH&Co Group. The company was set up in 1991 as Charlton House by the late Robyn Jones OBE and Tim Jones, now Chairman of CH&Co Group. Awarded Investors in People Gold accreditation, CH&Co recruits and develops highly trained, dependable service staff and has an executive chef team with an enviable portfolio of experience. Through its commitment to its people and its passion for food and service, the company delivers a complete customer dining experience within a broad range of settings. The structure of CH&Co is based on six niche operating businesses: Ampersand, Charlton House, Lusso, Chester Boyd, ITA* and Via360.

CH&Co Catering Limited provides catering for a range of sectors, including historic palaces, tourist and visitor attractions, blue-chip firms, ancient livery companies and Gatwick Airport. The company holds a Royal Warrant for services to HM The Queen. Its median gender pay gap is lower than the UK national median gender pay gap (7.7% vs. 18.4%).  As of April 2017, the company employed more men than women (53.9% to 46.1%).

Proportion of male & female employees according to quartile pay bands


Following a merger, Brookwood became part of CH&Co Group in July 2016. The company provides catering services to the independent school sector across the UK. It has a median gender pay gap of 13.8%, below the national average. Its workforce is predominantly female (72.2%), working part-time and term-time.

Proportion of male & female employees according to quartile pay bands

Absolutely Catering

Absolutely Catering is a specialist business in catering for the state education sector. The sister company of Brookwood, it joined the CH&Co Group family at the same time, in July 2016. It has a median gender pay gap of 22.9%. Its predominantly female workforce (92.3%) work part-time and term time.

Proportion of male & female employees in Absolutely according to quartile pay bands

Host Management

Host Management operates catering services across the UK in business and industry, education, healthcare and the heritage sector.  Host Management merged with Catermasters in 2014 to become the HCM Group before merging with CH&Co in 2015, leading to the formation of the CH&Co Group. Host’s workforce is mostly female (69%), and the company has a median gender pay gap at 10.2%, which is below the national average.

Proportion of male & female employees according to quartile pay bands


Catermasters is a workplace contract catering specialist with over 120 clients across the UK. First established in 1989, Catermasters merged with Host Management in 2014 to become the HCM Group before merging with CH&Co in 2015, leading to the formation of the CH&Co Group.

Catermasters has a predominantly male workforce (55.5%). Its median gender pay gap stands at 20%.

Proportion of male & female employees in Absolutely according to quartile pay bands

H+J and Upfront

In June 2017, CH&Co Group added independent contract caterers Harbour and Jones to its portfolio, including its H+J and Upfront divisions. H+J provides business hospitality services and catering for staff restaurants, conference and banqueting in iconic venues, and cafes and restaurants in visitor attractions. Upfront provide specialist reception and front of house services.

The majority of the H+J and Upfront workforce is male (55.5%). Its median gender pay gap is 7%.

Proportion of male & female employees in Absolutely according to quartile pay bands


The merger of CH&Co Group and Harbour and Jones in June 2017 also added Principals, one of the UK’s longest established school caterers, to the Group’s education catering business. Principals provides a school meals service in predominantly infant and junior schools throughout the South East of the UK. Principals’ workforce is almost entirely female (98.1%), working part-time and term time in the school kitchens and dining rooms. The median gender pay gap is 10.4%.

Proportion of male & female employees in Absolutely according to quartile pay bands