Virgin Money reports gender pay gap early

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Copyright: Virgin Money

It's pleasing to see a company setting an example and demonstrating transparency, I hope it continues. It is also refreshing for the People Director to state that the gap is based on the ...


Read More Matthew Ferro
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The company has publicly reported on both pay gaps and the number of women it has in senior roles

Virgin Money has reported its gender pay gap data early, in its annual report, people director Matt Elliott told HR magazine.

The financial services company, which employs more than 3,000 people, will adopt 2018’s pay gap reporting regulations from this year.

Voluntarily disclosing its gender pay gap as at April 2016 was “in the interests of transparency”, said Elliott. “We believe [this] is an important principle in encouraging the progress required in business,” he added.

Virgin Money’s mean gender pay gap in April 2016 was 36%. The pay gap is largest at the highest-paid level due to a lack of women in senior roles.

“The gap is based on imbalance at ‘senior’ and ‘junior’ levels,” Elliott explained. “The under-representation of men in more junior roles is actually the biggest contributor to our pay gap.”

However, he added he does not believe the company has a fair pay issue. “We are confident that men and women are paid fairly for the same and similar jobs,” he said.

Virgin Money is aiming for a 50/50 gender balance by 2020. “We are passionate about fairness, equality and inclusion,” Elliott said. “Delivering on this [50/50] commitment will resolve [our] pay gap.”

While the firm’s board is 37.5% female, the senior management community is made up of 21.4% women to 78.6% men. This excludes CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who led the government review into Women in Finance that was published in March last year.

The rest of the organisation has a 44:56 male to female split.

Virgin Money has also disclosed the gender balance of the executive committee and direct reports (as set out in the Hampton-Alexander Review) early. The firm has 31% female representation at this level. The voluntary target of the Hampton-Alexander Review is for companies to have at least 33% of their executive pipeline positions filled by women by 2020.

“I’m pleased with that report as we will finally see comparable reporting on gender balance seniority,” said Elliott. He added that Virgin Money also intends to be an early adopter of the Parker Review's recommendations, which aim to improve ethnic diversity in business.

Gender pay gap reporting regulations come into effect on 6 April this year. Employers will be required to publish information on their gender pay gap and gender bonus gap on an annual basis. While employers must collect data from April 2017 they do not have to publish it until April 2018.

Comments

It's pleasing to see a company setting an example and demonstrating transparency, I hope it continues. It is also refreshing for the People Director to state that the gap is based on the imbalance at senior and also junior roles. I have been looking at what is causing the gender pay gap in my role at PAYdata and I think there is a perception that the issue is purely a lack of females in senior roles, however I feel that a bigger factor could be at more junior levels due to the vast number of employees at these levels. I don't think the comment stating that by moving to a 50/50 gender balance it will resolve the pay gap is correct however. It depends if you feel the pay gap is caused by equal pay issues or whether it is more of a diversity issue. It doesn't matter if you have a 50/50 gender balance or say an 80/20 balance in favour of males, something which is commonplace in some industries (construction for example). What matters is that your gender mix is consistent throughout the organisation. So if only 20% of your workforce are females, to eliminate your pay gap you need to ensure that each level of the organisation consists of 20% females.


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Gender pay gaps are usually about career tracks and life choices by individual and partners.


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Yes, Peter, but life choices are made in a context. The same couple living in a different country or working for a different company may well make different life choices. If an organisation is keen to create gender balance they may have to work harder to attract men (to fill the lower levels) and work harder to ensure women are promoted to the highest levels. Retaining talent doesn't happen by itself. If women have 'home' pulling hard, than 'work' will have to be attractive too. Often women feel undervalued and excluded at work and don't see many promotion opportunities. They don't feel needed, so they opt out or plateau.


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