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Food Firms Reveal Gender Pay Gap

back of mans head and front of woman drinking coffee at a table

Food firms have been revealing their gender pay gaps, with some surprising results.

More than 25 firms have now submitted pay information to the government under the new legal requirement, with April 2018 the deadline to publish the figures.

Pay gap figures

The majority of the companies have revealed that female food workers are paid less than their male counterparts – a statistic which is, unfortunately, in line with other industries across the UK.Woman and man cooking together

The reporting of gender pay gaps is now a legal requirement. Any company which has more than 250 employees must now publish information on wages from April 2017 to April 2018 on their website, as well as submitting the figures to be published by the government.

They must report the mean and median averages for the gender pay gap, the mean and median averages of the gender bonus gap, the proportion of men and women who receive bonuses, and the breakdown of men and women in their pay structure by quartiles.

The median is considered to be the figure which is most useful when looking at pay gaps, because it uses the middle employee of any organisation and is less skewed by one single highly paid individual – such as an executive or owner.

Coca-Cola European Partners Great Britain employs more men than women, fewer women in senior positions, and rewards shift-based roles with higher pay. This is what they claim is to blame for their 10.1% lower mean and 10.7% lower median wages for women.

Premier Foods Group revealed an hourly rate which had a 12.2% lower median and 10% lower mean. They say they are working on improving the gender pay gap, but that 80% of their workforce is in their factories and largely male.

“This means our gender balance is uneven and because people don’t leave us very often, it takes time to address this,” explained HR and communications director David Wilkinson. He did, however, point out that their office environment has a 50:50 split, with women occupying 36% of senior roles.

Bakkavor Foods showed an 11% lower mean and 7.8% lower median for women.

A positive start

There are, however, a number of companies who have managed to buck the trend by paying women in food jobs more than male workers.

These include Diageo GB, Unilever UK, and Charlie Bigham’s. Diageo had a 9.8% higher median rate for women, with a 4.1% lower mean suggesting that men still take up the highest paid positions in the company. This was only true in their GB arm, with their Scottish operations skewing further towards men.

They state that, “This reflects the fact that there is a higher proportion of men in more junior field sales roles and manufacturing roles, and a higher proportion of women in our office-based functional roles.”

As for the difference in their Scottish business, they say it’s largely down to the unsociable business hours of the work – which therefore attracts more men, who are less likely to be caregivers.

They also pointed out that the higher-paid roles in their manufacturing sites tend to be those of coopers and craft technicians, who are required to carry out heavy manual labour. This, in turn, precludes most women from the positions.

Unilever UK are leading the way for women – literally, as they explain: “Within the smaller female population, we see proportionally more women in managerial roles, which means that women on average earn more than men.” This accounts for their 8.8% higher mean wage for women, and 1.3% higher median.

70% of the workers in their manufacturing roles, however, are men.

Charlie Brigham’s median rate was 2% higher for women.