Winning Women at Compass Ireland

14th March 2023

Posted In: Be In The Frame

A career pathways scheme which includes free training and a chefs apprenticeship programme is part of a recruitment drive at Compass Ireland, according to Managing Director, Deirdre O’Neill, who hosted an International Women’s Day lunch in Dublin last week (Wednesday 8 March, 2023).

A company-wide Women in Food networking group has also been set-up by Compass Ireland to tackle the shortage of female chefs within the industry, and ensure new opportunities for female team members. As well as supporting women in learning from each other, there is flexible and hybrid working, additional leave when needed, and a menopause policy in place to ensure women committing to Compass can have the career and working life they aspire to.

“We are proud at Compass Ireland to have a predominantly female senior management team.  As a passionate advocate for developing talent, I personally hope that, at a very practical level, we are good role models and constantly look to remove barriers, large or small, subtle and practical, that can hold women back,” says Deidre O’Neill.

Since 2021 the company’s executive team has been more than 60% female, which is a significant shift from a decade ago when Compass Ireland had an all-male board. The foodservices firm’s mean gender pay gap is 9.76 percent and the median gender pay gap is 10.71 percent, according to its 2022 Gender Pay Report.

The main reason for the gender pay gap is the larger proportion of male chefs in more senior roles, compared to women, according to its Managing Director, thus the particular focus on building a stronger team of female chefs.

This is an industry wide challenge, Deirdre O’Neill insists.

“We must do all we can to break down barriers to women’s progression in the culinary profession; therefore, we are investing significantly in career pathways for everyone at Compass Ireland.

“Equality and equity are not about the job we do. They are about being enabled to do the job we want to do. It is important for women to have the freedom, opportunity, education and the means to reach their fullest potential, and achieve their dreams”.

Compass Ireland employs 1,500 people across the country in a diverse professional foodservices team, working with clients that include Vodafone, Boston Scientific, Hubspot, Flutter and the Royal College of Surgeons.

One of the largest catering groups on the island, the foodservices business accounts for annual revenue in the region of €80m and deals with over 180 Irish food producers, spending over €35m a year on Irish food.

Pictured at the Compass Ireland International Women’s Day lunch in Dublin recently were Deirdre O’Neill, Managing Director of Compass Ireland, and Vegan Chef Holly White.