Gender Pay Gap Reporting: What has been revealed? How Easyjet have grasped the challenge

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The deadline for large companies in the UK to report their gender pay details has expired, with over 10,000 companies reporting. The data, the most comprehensive collected in any country has revealed that the median pay gap amongst the companies that reported was 9.7% (Note the median measure is the level of pay that separates the top half of earners from the bottom half).

78% of companies pay men more than women, and 14% pay woman more. 8% said there was no gap.

The gender pay gap happens if there are more higher earning men than women in a company, but it also happens if there are more experienced men than women, or if women are returning to work after maternity leave at a lower level than men with the same experience.

Leaving aside issues about how the reporting requirements were established and the accuracy of the data (as the FT reported “two companies reported that they employ no women…despite the person reporting the companies’ data being a woman") what the process has revealed is that some industries have more senior men in their workforce than senior women.

The sectors where this is most obvious include construction, finance, education, mining, professional services and airlines.

Easyjet who were one of the first companies to report, with a current gender pay gap of about 45% have been both transparent and progressive in how they intend to address the gap. The primary reason for the gap is the small number of female pilots, about 6% of their pilot roster, although the industry average is 4%. Pilots earn more than cabin crew and ground staff, and account for about 25% of the total Easyjet staff.

Several years ago the company launched an initiative, named after Amy Johnson, to increase the proportion of female pilots. Last year 49 new female co-pilots joined the company, a 50% increase on the previous year, taking the proportion of women to 13% amongst new pilots.

Captain David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations at Easyjet says "We are working towards reaching our target of 20% of new entrant pilots to be female by 2020. We also have a partnership with Girlguiding UK and sponsor a new aviation badge to inspire young girls at an early age and our pilots have visited over 140 schools since launching the initiative to inspire the next generation of pilots."

If nothing else these statistics have made companies and their management consider whether they need to address some of the questions raised, and the manner in which they can look to close the gap, if one exists. In some industries this will take longer to happen and indeed might never change, but some like Easyjet have not only grasped the challenge head-on, but see it is an opportunity for some positive brand marketing at the same time.

In October last year we reviewed our own search placements over the past two years finding that 58% of this total was male and 42% female.