Gender pay gap up in HTL and down in retail

Two reports on the gender pay gap show the gap narrowing in retail, while it has increased overall in the hospitality, travel and leisure sectors.

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The mean gender pay gap in the hospitality, travel and leisure [HTL] sectors increased from 7.4% to 9%, according to a new analysis by WiHTL and PwC.

The average mean pay gap increased for the first time in three years in the hospitality sector (up from 5.4% to 7.7%).  According to the analysis, the cancellation and delay of gender pay gap reporting between 2019 and 2021 may be in part to blame.

Another factor is lack of reporting. The HTL sector saw close to 60% of companies in the sector (475 companies) disclose their gender pay gap as of 5th october 2021 (compared to nearly 80% that had reported in 2018/19 – the last ‘normal’ reporting year before the pandemic).  This is below average compared to other sectors where disclosure is at 80%.

The report found the figure are affected by the fact that there are more men in senior roles and more women in the lowest paid positions. The average HTL company had 58% males in the highest paid 25% of their workforce, but 54% females in the lowest paid 25%.  Besides contributing to pay inequalities, says the report, this distribution means that female jobs are much more likely to be casual and vulnerable to sudden change, such as furlough, than male roles.

Nevertheless, there was room for optimism. Due to a greater strategic focus on diversity and inclusion gender equality is likely to move higher up the agenda, it predicted and it highlighted examples of actions being taken by businesses, including focusing on people development, inclusive recruitment, updating policies and processes and improving education and awareness.

Tea Colaianni, Founder & Chair, WiHTL, said: “Whilst it is widely acknowledged that the impact of the pandemic upon the economy disproportionately affected both women and the HTL sector, it’s encouraging to see companies across the sector stepping up to be seen as transparent with their reporting and taking meaningful action. There is a noticeable commitment to attract, retain and invest in diverse talent pipelines, nurture a culture where everybody feels has the same opportunities to progress and celebrate differences. We have seen significant investment in developing a common language for inclusive leadership and a remarkable effort to support the promotion of talented female leaders at all levels.”

The report also found that there are a growing number of organisations choosing to voluntarily calculate and disclose wider diversity metrics. The most common addition in the UK is the ethnicity pay gap.

The analysis came as Diversity in Retail and PwC published a report exploring the gender pay gap within the retail sector, where progress towards closing the gap has been made.

As reported by PwC, in 2018/19 the mean pay gap in retail was 13.1% and this year it is 11.8%. The number of retail companies who reported for 2020/21 by 5th October was nearly 75% of the number that had reported in 2018/19, compared to nearly 80% in the wider market.

The report highlights how retailers have responded to overcoming the gender pay gap with detailed action plans which address the disparity in numerous ways.

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