Mind the gap – lifting the lid on the gender pay gap in UK aviation

You cannot have escaped the attention the gender pay gap has been getting over recent years and the United Kingdom has one of the widest gender pay gaps in Europe. In general, salary research shows that for every pound that men earn, women make just 80p, and little has changed since the start of the millennium.

A recent example of this disparity was seen in the airline sector after Carolyn McCall was replaced by Johan Lundgren as CEO of easyJet in Dec-2017. His starting salary was GBP740,000, 5% more than Ms McCall has earned despite having worked at the airline for eight years. easyJet has actually been one of the leaders for championing women in the workplace, but it has emerged its gender pay gap is actually one of the worst – its average male salary is 52% higher than the average female salary and median pay gap – the difference between the midpoint salary for each gender — is 46%.

This week companies across the UK have had to disclose gender pay differences and it emerges the gap between salaries is significant. The legislation, which required companies with more than 250 staff to publish a specific set of statistics including the gap between the mean and median pay of men and of women in their firms by 04-Apr-2018, provides a new layer of detail about how the pay of women differs from that of men.

Rebecca Rowland of MIDAS Aviation helps provide some insights to The Blue Swan Daily on the issue and how the UK aviation sector performs, and reveals that airports appear to be doing a better job bridging the gender gap than airlines.

“On the whole, airports appear to have a lower gender pay gap than the UK average which sits at 18.4% when part-time staff are included. That is good news for women working at airports though it still leaves us asking why Manchester Airport can manage with half the gap that many of its peers manage. It’s interesting that Manchester Airports Group, which operates Manchester Airport, London Stansted and East Midlands Airport publish their own gender pay gap report, which includes what actions they are taking to address disparity, while at least some of their peers choose not to.

CHART – Southampton, Luton and Bristol airports have the largest gender pay gap among airlines in the UKSource: http://www.equalpayportal.co.uk/statistics/ – via MIDAS Aviation

“Airlines fare a lot worse and many of them have seen their names in headlines in recent weeks as the mainstream media pick up on the vast differences in average pay between the sexes. For them the numbers don’t just look bad, they are bad. Inevitably there has been much explaining away. Senior roles are dominated by men. Pilots with high levels of remuneration are predominantly male. More women work part-time. Allowances for unsocial shifts go to more men than women. There’s nothing we’ve not heard before.

CHART – Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook Airlines have the largest gender pay gap among airlines in the UKSource: http://www.equalpayportal.co.uk/statistics/ – via MIDAS Aviation

“The question many these firms need to be asking is what needs to change? What is it about their hiring policies which mean women don’t get to be pilots or want to be engineers? And why are the traditionally male jobs paid more in the first place? Why should a career-minded and smart female be expected to work for a lower hourly rate if she needs to work part-time?

“Change comes from the top and a quick trawl through the boards of many of the UK’s leading aviation businesses shows that the Boards are predominantly male too. But evidence is mounting that gender diverse boards perform better and are more profitable. So, it’s great to see some of these companies publishing reports online about what they are doing to address the gender pay gap, but there is clearly more to do.”

More than 10,000 companies have submitted their gender pay gap figures to the Government Equalities Office, but over a 1,000 more have missed the deadline. At this time Ryanair is actually among the ten companies with the highest median gender pay gaps. The data shows that for every GBP1 men earn, women earn just 28p! It explains the disparity as due to its UK pilot pool being dominated my men – 546 are male and only eight are female.

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