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Average male Boots employee earns 21% more than female

Boots has revealed it pays its female employees 21% less than males on average.

The mean pay gap – the difference in pay between the average male and female UK hourly rate – as of April 2017 was 21%, Boots said in a report published today (March 20).

The multiple’s 57,000-strong workforce is 78% female, it noted.

“We believe the main reason for our gender pay gap is the structure of our workforce, with more females than males in our lower paid roles across the organisation,” the multiple said in its report.

The multiple’s 5% median gender pay gap – which takes the mid-point when all hourly rates are lined up from biggest to smallest, reducing the impact of one-off outliers – is “significantly better” than the UK average of 18.4%, Boots said.

While the gender pay gap in each of the lowest three pay bands at the multiple is “less than 1% in favour of females”, there is “higher male representation in more senior roles”, Boots added.

Boots attributed the gender imbalance among senior roles at the organisation to “variations in the proportion of males and females in different functional areas”.

Women make up 68% of the multiple’s fourth and highest pay quartile, it said, while 78% of HR roles are occupied by women, and only 28% of “higher paid” IT roles.

Bonus gaps and part-time working

Boots also reported that 69% of women in the company received a bonus, compared to 49% of men.

However, the mean gap between the amount of bonus given was 81%, while the median was 19%.

Boots said it used “actual bonus paid, rather than full-time equivalent” to calculate its bonus pay gap. “We have a high proportion of female colleagues who work part-time [and] received a pro-rated payment.”

Not all staff received bonuses during the reporting period, “which has [also] negatively influenced our bonus gap”, the multiple added.

Legal obligation

All companies employing over 250 staff are required by law to publish their gender pay gap, gender bonus gap, the proportion of men and women receiving bonuses, and the proportion of men and women in each pay band in the organisation by April 4.

Elizabeth Fagan, senior vice president and managing director of Boots, UK and Republic of Ireland, said: “We welcome the introduction of gender pay gap reporting, as it’s an opportunity to identify the root causes of any gaps that exist within our business.

“It’s a guiding principle of my leadership that we all champion equality of opportunity and create an environment where all of our colleagues can thrive and achieve their career aspirations.”

What’s being done?

To address the pay gap in highest paid roles, Boots is trialling science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) schemes to encourage staff into “non-traditional roles”, and is also introducing unconscious bias training “to support our leaders in fair and inclusive decision-making”.

Sixty-four per cent of female staff work part-time at Boots, and 40% of males, the multiple reported. “While we already have [flexible working policies] in place, we will focus on encouraging flexible working across all roles,” Boots added.

Lloydspharmacy and Well have yet to publish their own gender pay data.

Earlier this month, research by the University of Birmingham’s school of pharmacy suggested there is “inequality at senior levels” of the community pharmacy sector. Read the full report here.

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