More than 25 food manufacturers have submitted their pay information to the government, with the majority revealing that they are paying their female staff less than their male counterparts.
Gender pay gap reporting is a legal requirement, which means that companies with more than 250 employees are obliged to provide information on employee pay from April 2017 and publish the details by April 2018.
Businesses are required to publish four types of figures annually on their own website and on a government website. These include gender pay gap (mean and median averages) and gender bonus gap (mean and median averages). They must also publish details of the proportion of men and women who receive bonuses and the breakdown of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay structure.
The median is widely considered the most representative figure on pay, as it is the difference between the employee in the middle of the range of male wages and the middle employee in the range of female wages. The mean figures, however, can be skewed by one highly paid member of staff.
Positive wage rates for women
Drinks company Diageo Great Britain came out with a positive wage rate for women 9.8% higher (median) and 4.1% lower (mean).
Its Scottish division did not fare so well with the women’s hourly rate at 11.3% lower (mean) and 16.7% lower (median).
Diageo’s Gender Pay Gap Report 2017 revealed that in its GB business: “This reflects the fact that there is a higher proportion of men in more junior field sales roles and manufacturing roles, and a higher proportion of women in our office-based functional roles.”
Meanwhile, the Diageo Scotland median rates were driven by manufacturing roles, which it said, “struggle to attract women, in part, due to unsociable shift patterns.”
Its report added: “These roles can attract higher level of shift allowance and are more likely to be staffed by men.”
It also said that higher-paying manufacturing roles, such as coopers and craft technicians, were more likely to be staffed by men due to nature of the work and the fact they involved heavy manual labour.
Unilever UK, the owner of brands such as Lipton and Hellman’s, saw women paid more than men. The hourly rate for women was 8.8% higher (mean) and 1.3% higher (median).
Unilever UK said this reflected the fact that 70% of those working in manufacturing roles were men.
“Within the smaller female population, we see proportionally more women in managerial roles, which means that women on average earn more than men,” it said.
Meal preparation company Charlie Bigham's also reported that its median rate for women was 2% higher than for men.
Gender pay gap
However, some concerning figures showed a considerable pay gap between the sexes.
Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) Great Britain saw women paid lower than men within the business. The women’s hourly rate was 10.1% lower (mean) to 10.7% lower (median).
In its Gender Pay Gap Report, CCEP said this was down to two factors. It said it employed more men than women within its manufacturing operations and the shift-based roles attracted a pay premium.
It also admitted that fewer women held the most senior positions within the business in GB, including those within the senior leadership team and at the vice-president/director level of management.
Premier Foods Group, owner of brands such as Homepride and Mr Kipling, revealed its women’s hourly rate was 12.2% lower (median) and 10% lower (mean).
In its report it said that it was not “complacent” and was looking to improve its gender pay gap. It said that more than 80% of people it employed worked in its factories, where the majority of the workforce was male (67:33).
HR and communications director David Wilkinson said: “This means our gender balance is uneven and because people don’t leave us very often, it takes time to address this.”
However, it revealed that it was 50:50 in its office environment with 36% of senior management roles filled by women.
Bakkavor Foods' results showed that its women’s hourly rate was 7.8% (median) lower than males and 11% lower (mean). Bakkavor said this was due to the fact that it has more men in senior roles across the business.
Even the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) didn’t come out well, with women paid 12.1% lower (median) and 11.5% (mean) than men.
Women’s Hourly rate (median)
Bakkavor Fresh Cook
Coca-Cola European Partners GB
Diageo Great Britain
Knighton Foods (Premier Foods)
Kuehne & Nagel Drinks Logistics
Myfresh Prepared Produce
Pork Farms Caspian
Q V Foods
Tillery Valley Foods