The retail sector closed its gender pay gap last year, according to research.
A report by Diversity in Retail (DIR) and accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) found a fall in the sector’s mean pay gap from 13.1% in 2018/19 to 11.8% in 2020/21. Mandatory reporting was suspended in 2019/20 due to the effects of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Following the subsequent announcement of a six-month delay of the disclosure deadline for 2020/21, the number of retail businesses who reported for the latest period by 5 October last year was below 75% of the number that had reported in 2018/19, the research found. The report only took into account those firms who reported by the latest deadline and also filed figures for prior years.
The retail sector saw a higher proportion of organisations reporting a pay gap reduction of between 10% and 15% than the wider market, although there were no cuts in the pay gap above that level in retail, which researchers put down to the large size of many organisations in the sector.
Jason Buwanabala, inclusion and diversity consulting senior manager at PWC, said it was reassuring to see the pay gap in the retail sector continue to fall.
“However, it is critical for companies to continue making progress and sharing narrative around reducing their gender pay gap, especially given the disproportionate impact on women of the pandemic, which saw female workers lose jobs more frequently and being more likely to take on additional childcare responsibilities,” he said.
Tea Colaianni, founder and chair at DIR, added that the retail industry as a whole recognises how important a diverse workplace is for business to grow and attract talent.
“While UK legislation does not currently mandate organisations to produce action plans to address gender pay gap disparities, it is inspiring to see the breadth and depth of the actions put in place by many retailers across the country who did share this,” Colaianni said.