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Boots kicks gender pay gap into touch as multiples reveal pay gap data

Boots UK has eliminated the median hourly gender pay gap for pharmacists and pharmacy staff, according to its latest gender pay gap report, but other multiples are yet to follow suit.

The Equality Act 2010 requires all companies with 250 or more employees to submit a gender pay gap report every year by April 4.

Boots’ pay gap report for the 2022/23 financial year shows that women working at Boots Management Services Ltd – which a spokesperson confirmed includes all pharmacists and pharmacy staff – earned £1 for every £1 that men earned when comparing median hourly pay. 

This makes their median hourly pay 0% lower than men’s, an improvement on the 2.7% pay gap in favour of men working at the multiple in 2021/2022.

Read more: Gender pay gap: Male branch managers earn £3.5k more than female equivalents

The latest figures also show women earn £1 for every £1 that men earn when comparing median bonus pay.

Noting that the figures are “significantly better than the national average”, Boots managing director Seb James told C+D that the multiple’s “mean pay gap” is “broadly consistent with last year” at 18.2%.

But he added that Boots “[recognises] that there is always more to be done and will continue to inspire and support all of our team members to reach their full potential”.

 

Lloydspharmacy pay gap narrows to 9.9%

 

Lloydspharmacy’s 2022 gender pay gap report showed a narrowing of the median hourly pay gap from 14.7% in 2021 to 9.9% in 2022/23 for “all colleagues employed by the business”.

Women earned 90p for every £1 that men earned when comparing median hourly pay, according to the report.

However, bonus pay gap figures show women earn 69p for every £1 that men earn, making their median bonus pay 30.7% lower than men’s.

Read more: Is community pharmacy going to wait until 2070 to close the gender pay gap?

The multiple said it is “pleased with the progress” in “promoting equality and diversity in the workplace”, but acknowledged "that there is work still to be done”.

“The COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate impact on female employees due to the gendered division of family responsibilities,” a spokesperson told C+D.

But they added that the multiple has “recognised this and underlined our ongoing commitment to addressing these issues, improving opportunities for women and reducing our gender pay gap”.

 

Women at Superdrug earn 50% less in bonuses

 

Superdrug reduced its median hourly pay gap from 7.7% in 2021/2022 to 6.7% in 2022/2023, with women earning 93p for every £1 earned by their male counterparts, according to its report.

However, it showed that women earned 50p for every £1 that men earned when comparing median bonus pay, meaning their median bonus pay is 49.9% lower than men’s.

Read more: Research shows male pharmacists still earning more than female colleagues

“Our improving position demonstrates that our focus on succession planning, data and balanced shortlists is paying off,” a Superdrug spokesperson said.

“In the last year, 78% of all internal promotions were women including several new leadership moves as part of our executive board reshuffle, which bolstered female board presence,” they added.

 

Rowlands pay gap favours women

 

Phoenix Healthcare – the wholesaler that owns Rowlands Pharmacy – bucked the trend for reported median hourly pay with a gap of 2% in favour of women in 2022/2023.

Read more: Podcast – How I overcame challenges to rise through the ranks at Rowlands

Women earned £1.02 for every £1 that men earned when comparing median hourly pay, its report showed.

But this did not follow in the bonus pay gap, where women earned 89p for every £1 that men earned, making their median bonus pay 11.1% lower.

 

Day Lewis pay gap widens

 

Meanwhile, the median hourly pay gap reported by Day Lewis has increased from 0.2% in 2021/2022 to 1.5% in 2022/2023, according to its new report.

Women’s median hourly pay was 98p versus £1 for men, with a bonus pay gap of 83p for women versus £1 for men resulting in 16.8% lower median bonus pay.

Read more: Is community pharmacy going to wait until 2070 to close the gender pay gap?

Day Lewis was approached by C+D for comment.

Despite the gender pay gap in pharmacy continuing to close, C+D’s latest salary survey shows there is still work to be done.

It revealed last month that male branch managers earned an average of £3,500 more than their female colleagues in 2022, and were also more likely to have received a bonus in 2022 than female managers.

 

“Simply not good enough”

 

CEO of North East London Local Pharmaceutical Committee (NEL LPC) Shilpa Shah said that it is “great to see” large multiples eliminate their pay gap and urged all other healthcare organisations to “work with pace” to do the same.

It is “simply not good enough” for companies to say “we’re working on it”, she told C+D.

“This is something that affects 50% of the workforce…we need to see active change,” she said.

Read more: Podcast – Why I'll always be passionate about community pharmacy

Ms Shah added that employers must look at what they pay men and women and that this “should absolutely match”, urging organisations to make this a priority for 2023/24 for their HR teams.

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the figures from Boots are still an anomaly in the sector.

As a general snapshot in April 2022, ONS data shows that the gender pay gap for median gross hourly earnings excluding overtime for pharmacists saw women earn 0.9% less than men – at £23.44 per hour for women versus £23.66 per hour for men.

Read more: Podcast – How I use my platform to stand up for female pharmacists

However, things looked slightly better for pharmacy and optical dispensing assistants with women earning 0.4% more than men at £10.00 per hour, versus £9.96 per hour for men.

While medians are useful indicators of the typical situation because they are not distorted by very high or low hourly pay or by bonuses, this does mean that not all gender pay gap issues will be picked up.

Medians can also fail to illustrate where gender pay gap issues are most pronounced in the lowest paid or highest paid employees.

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