Hachette UK is a publisher which includes well-known divisions such as Hodder and Stoughton, Headline Publishing Group, and Quercus, with 1,700 employees spread across the UK. It has been working steadily to close its gender pay gap.
Saskia Bewley, head of diversity and inclusion at Hachette UK, explains: “Before the pandemic, and at the time of the April 2019 snapshot date, Hachette UK’s median gender pay gap was 18.4%, a decrease of 6.3 percentage points from our first report.”
How has the pandemic affected Hachette’s work to close the gender pay gap? “We recognise that this is not the same pandemic for everyone and that there are complex challenges facing women of myriad identities and experiences,” says Bewley. “Across the pandemic we have taken an increasingly holistic and intersectional approach underpinned by a focus on mental, physical, and financial wellbeing.”
To support parents and carers through the reduction in formal and informal support, the employer reduced hours per day to six focused hours, and suspended core working to enable complete flexibility.
Bewley adds: “We also supported the launch of a new working families group which provides peer support for colleagues with family life challenges, enabling a direct line from parents to the board.”
In 2020, Hachette UK also introduced bonus transparency and published its annual pay ranges, extending the scope of roles and increasing the cap of salaries to cover the majority of its workforce, in order to be transparent about how pay and progression decisions are made.
After its latest gender pay gap report was published in 2021, the publisher held workshops to discuss the figures openly and share ideas on how to close the gap. “This feedback, alongside close consultation with our gender balance network, will inform an updated action plan,” says Bewley.
She concludes: “In the current climate, we recognise that we also have an opportunity to rethink the world of work and embed gender equality in purpose, objective, and design. In close consultation with our employee networks, we will create a new work-life balance policy which will include the introduction of greater informal flexibility and formalised time off for emergency leave and carers.”