Gender pay gap: what we learned in week three

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s weekly roundup of what’s new this week in the world of gender pay gap reporting.

There were (muted) celebrations this week as the number of UK companies reporting pay differences between their male and female employees exceeded 2,000. Data is coming in thick and fast, with more than 400 companies reporting in the past week. That still leaves about 7,000 companies which are yet to report.

As a reminder, all public and private sector organisations in Great Britain with 250 or more employees must report their gender pay gap, the difference between what they pay men and women, by 4 April.

progress 14

As of the evening of Tuesday 13 March, 2,020 organisations had reported. Of that number, 76% said men’s median pay was higher than that of their female colleagues, 15% said women were paid more and 9% said there was no gap between the sexes.

histo 14

What we learned this week

The Guardian has on Wednesday released its gender pay gap figures, which show a median hourly pay gap of 12.1% and a mean gap of 11.3%. When the GNM figures are broken down between editorial and non-editorial roles, they show a gender pay gap in editorial of 7.4%. The figure widens in non-editorial roles, where the hourly pay gap is 17.2%. Katharine Viner, the editor-in-chief, and David Pemsel, the chief executive, have pledged to attain a 50:50 gender balance in the top half of the organisation within five years, and have put in place mentoring and women in leadership schemes to improve gender equality.

ITN also released its figures: it pays men 19.6% more than it pays women and has a hefty bonus gap of 77%. The Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman called the bonus gap “staggering”, while Victoria Macdonald, the Channel 4 News health and social care correspondent, said it was “V disappointing to say the least”. Comparisons with the BBC – where the mean gender pay gap was 10.7% – are obvious, but a spokeswoman for ITN insisted the production company did not have an equal pay problem and paid men and women the same in the same roles. Interestingly, ITN chose to use its mean gender pay gap – the median figure is slightly more forgiving: 18.2% pay gap and 50% bonus gap.

The Grosvenor Group, which is owned by the Duke of Westminster, believed to be the world’s richest person under 30, reported a 27.6% median hourly gap and a 52.4% bonus gap among its UK employees. In a short gender pay gap report published alongside the company’s reported figures, the company said it was committed to changing the imbalance.

Toyota (GB) reported a gender pay gap of 29.7% and a median bonus gap of 61.7%. The company has attributed this to the “significant majority” of its senior roles being held by men, low staff turnover, and a four and a half year difference in the length of service of men compared with women.

GlaxoSmithKline reported a +0.34% median gap and -3.24% median bonus gap (the mean figures are 2.81% and 19.6% respectively). Novartis UK, which also published its figures this week, revealed a gender pay gap of 8.6% (median), but in its accompanying report across the four companies under its umbrella (two of which fall under the 250 employee reporting threshold), it says it has virtually no pay gap. The company has a mean gender pay gap of 0.4% in favour of women (the median is 12.4%) and a mean bonus gap of 0.8% in favour of men (the median is, confusingly, 18.2% in favour of women). This compares with the 14.5% hourly median gap and a median bonus gender pay gap of 24.8% reported by Pfizer last month.

Three more Russell Group universities had reported by Tuesday evening. The University of Liverpool revealed a 19% median hourly gap and a 90% bonus gap; Newcastle University reported a 19.5% hourly and 30% bonus gap; while the University of Bristol’s figures were 16.2% on median pay and 50% on bonus pay. All three institutions noted that the inclusion of clinical excellence awards paid to some academic staff had affected the bonus pay gap figures.

After facing criticism that the figures they reported did not include partners’ pay, the “big four” accountancy firms issued updates to include this data. As a result, PwC’s median hourly gender gap rose from 14.2% to 18.7%; KPMG’s went from 22.1% to 27%; Ernst and Young’s gap widened from 14.8% to 19.5%. Deloitte’s was the only one of the four whose gender gap decreased slightly as a result of the inclusion of partners, going from 15.3% to 15.2%. However, the companies do not expect to change the figures published on the government website.

We also saw how the new reporting requirement is shifting the political debate. On International Women’s Day last Thursday, Labour announced that if it got into power it would punish companies which failed to demonstrate they were taking action to close the gender pay gap.