Household name companies including Easyjet, Virgin Money and The Co-Operative Bank have revealed gender pay gaps well in excess of the national average.
At Easyjet, female employees earn an average of 51.7% less than male employees. The BBC reports that the airline's massive gender pay gap has developed because just 6% of its UK pilots are women earning a typical salary of around £90,000 a year. However, some 69% of Easyjet's UK cabin crew are women earning a much-lower annual salary of around £25,000 annually.
Fashion brand Phase Eight has an even more pronounced gender pay gap of 64.8%. The company's chief executive Benjamin Barnett told the BBC this figure doesn't reflect the "true story" of the business because 39 of Phase Eight's 44 male employees work at head office, where salaries tend to be higher than in its shops.
The gender pay gaps at Virgin Money and The Co-Operative Bank are 32.5% and 30.3% respectively - both significantly higher than the national average. In 2016, the Office for National Statistics reported that the UK's gender pay gap was 9.4% for full-time workers and 17.4% for part-time workers.
Before April, any organisation which employees at least 250 people has to reveal its gender pay gap under a new government initiative designed to reduce the gap by improving visibility. Many companies have revealed theirs early, and some have shared more encouraging news. At Cambridgeshire Police, female employees earn an average of 12.6% more than male employees, while women earn an average of 8.8% more at Unilever UK Limited.
The figures don't relate to equal pay, where men and women are paid the same for doing jobs of a corresponding level. Instead, they compare the average salaries of men and women at a particular company, working jobs at entry level right the way up to the board room.
Broadly speaking, companies with pronounced gender pay gaps are likely to have relatively few women in higher-paid senior roles, and these companies need to take action to change this.
In response to its gaping 30.3% gender pay gap, Steven Pickering of The Co-operative Bank told the Press Association: "Like many banks, our gender profile means that we have a pay gap which reflects the number of men in senior roles compared to the number of women. Through our five-point action plan, we aim to achieve a material increase in the number of women in senior roles, which, in turn, will help reduce our gender pay gap."
Easyjet has said it's aiming to recruit a higher proportion of female pilots - one in five - by 2020 in a bid to close its own gender pay gap.
Hundreds more companies will be revealing their gender pay gaps ahead of the April deadline, and it's going to make for very interesting reading indeed.
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