Marks and Spencer reports a 12.3% mean gender pay gap

Marks and Spencer

Retail organisation Marks and Spencer has reported a 12.3% mean gender pay gap for fixed hourly pay.

The organisation has reported its gender pay gap data in line with the government’s gender pay gap reporting regulations and ahead of the private sector submission deadline of 4 April 2018.

The gender pay gap reporting regulations require organisations with 250 or more employees to publish the difference between both the mean and median hourly rate of pay for male and female full-time employees; the difference between both the mean bonus pay and median bonus pay for male and female employees; the proportions of male and female employees who were awarded bonus pay; and the proportions of male and female full-time employees in the lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper quartile pay bands.

Marks and Spencer’s median gender pay gap for fixed hourly pay is 3.3%.

Its mean gender pay gap for bonuses paid in the year to 5 April 2017 is 53.4%, and the median gender pay gap for bonus payments is 15.9%. Over this period, 75.7% of female employees received a bonus payment compared to 66.3% of male employees.

Under three-quarters (74.7%) of employees in the highest pay quartile at Marks and Spencer are female, compared to 75.4% in the second quartile, 71.9% in the third quartile and 66.3% in the lowest pay quartile.

Marks and Spencer attributes its gender pay gap to the fact that it has more female employees working in entry level roles compared to male employees, and that a higher proportion of male employees fulfill senior positions. Entry level positions at Marks and Spencer tend to attract more flexible working opportunities, with more women than men working on a part-time basis. Marks and Spencer’s analysis shows that 77% of its female employees work on a part-time basis, compared to 54% of the organisation’s male employees. This, in turn, impacts the retailer’s bonus pay gap figures because reported bonus pay gap data is based on the actual bonus payments awarded, yet part-time employees receive a pro-rata bonus amount compared to full-time employees. Furthermore, the organisation’s bonus figure includes both cash bonuses and shares exercised. If an employee receives shares but does not exercise them, then this is not included in the final figures.

Marks and Spencer’s report additionally provides its non-demographic pay gap figure, which uses a recognised formula to calculate its mean gender pay gap to take into account the effect of having a high volume of women in lower reward levels. Using this method, Marks and Spencer’s mean gender pay gap reduces to 1.5%.

To address its gender pay gap, Marks and Spencer has formulated its Plan A 2025 approach, which includes set diversity targets. As part of this plan, Marks and Spencer has committed to extend its UK pay gap monitoring and reporting to include ethnicity, disability and age by 2020, to reduce its non-demographic gender pay gap by at least 10% by 2020 and by 25% by 2025 when compared to 2017, and by 2025, the organisation wants its workforce to reflect the diversity of each region in which it operates. This will be reported on from 2019. The Plan A 2025 also includes the aim to have 50% female and at least 15% black, Asian and minority ethnic representation on its senior management team by 2022.

Marks and Spencer will also introduce new measures to help mitigate its gender pay gap. This includes increasing the diversity and inclusion content in training materials for all new starters, implementing unconscious bias and inclusive leadership training into learning and development programmes at all levels, extending support for employees taking family leave through mentoring opportunities, and focusing on departments where gender balance is more of a challenge, for example in IT and logistics.

Furthermore, the organisation will provide mentoring support for mid-senior female employees to help them progress their careers, delivered as part of the 30% Club Cross Business Mentoring Programme, as well as offer leadership development, one-to-one coaching, inclusive leadership workshops for line managers and mentoring for female employees through the organisation’s Gender Equality Network. Marks and Spencer will also review its talent and progression data at board level, and promote flexible working opportunities both internally and in job adverts.

Marks and Spencer will continue to host its annual diversity and inclusion festival, maintain its commitment to have at least 30% female representation on its board, and continue its programme of Inspiring Women activity, which features both internal and external representation. The organisation has also introduced voluntary disclosure of ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability to its employee survey to help it to build up a better picture of its overall workforce.

Simmone Haywood, head of talent at Marks and Spencer, said: “Our customers come from a wide range of backgrounds, and in order for us to understand them, our workforce needs to reflect them. Ensuring we are inclusive and having a diverse workforce is vital to our success.

“While it’s positive that our gender pay gap is lower than the UK average, the issues at play are complicated, and we believe it’s much more important to focus on taking meaningful action to drive equality and inclusivity rather than simply the numbers themselves.

“We know there is more we can do. We will continue to annually publish our gender pay figures and report against our goals. Most importantly, we actively encourage our [employees’] ideas and contribution on how we can foster diversity and inclusivity in every aspect of the business.”