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Boots pays male employees 20% more on average than females

Boots' managing director: Among our pharmacists we have a positive pay gap for women
Boots' managing director: Among our pharmacists we have a positive pay gap for women

Boots pays its female employees 20% less than males on average, it has revealed in its second annual gender pay gap report.

The mean pay gap – the difference in pay between the average male and female UK hourly rate – as of April 2018 was 19.5%, Boots said in a report published last month (March 5).

This is compared to the multiple’s first report published in March 2017, which showed a mean pay gap of 21%.

In the year up to April 2018, women made up 79% of the workforce, Boots said, marking a 1% increase in one year.

The multiple has also seen a 1% increase in the number of females in the highest paid roles, it said.

This increase “has contributed to the 1% mean pay gap reduction, with having more females on higher hourly rates”, Boots explained.

However, there remains “more females than males in lower paid roles across the organisation”, the multiple said.

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 national average of 17.9%, Boots added.

Boots bonus gap

Boots’ gender pay gap report also revealed that 85% of female employees received a bonus in the year up to April 2018, while 79% of male employees received a bonus for the same period.

However, the mean bonus gap was 66% in favour of male employees, and the median bonus gap 45%.

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

Boots said the reduced mean gap and increased median gap year-on-year was down to the fact that “all bonuses paid in the year up to April 5, 2018, are used for the calculation of the bonus gap”.

As an employer with over 250 staff, Boots is required by law to publish its gender pay figures every year in April.

What’s being done?

To address the pay gap, Boots is extending the reach of its “gender listening groups”, re-launching flexible working policies to improve awareness of them and improving maternity support, the multiple said.

In 2018, it saw an increase in offers to women for its placements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, after encouraging them to apply, it said. It also set up a pay forum to ensure fair pay decisions.

Commenting on the figures, Boots UK managing director Seb James said in the past year, the multiple has “looked for ways to offer even more flexible working [and] rolled out training on the importance of avoiding unconscious bias”.

“Among our pharmacists we have a positive pay gap for women,” Mr James said.

Well Pharmacy’s gender pay gap report for 2018 revealed that the average male employee also earns 20% more than the average female employee. Lloydspharmacy has not yet published its report for 2018.

Has your pharmacy taken steps to close a gender pay gap?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

This is a silly story. Of COURSE men on average at Boots are paid more. Our industry at the business end, the front line, is overwhelmingly dominated by women counter staff and dispensers who are paid less than the role that men mostly occupy in community pharmacy, the pharmacist. When was the last time any of us worked with a bloke in the dispensary or on the counter? I've only done it half a dozen times at most. The gender imbalance lower down the pecking order is what needs addressing.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I remember my days as a wee counter lad, and I totally agree that it is very female-orientated. What's also disheartening is how little pharmacy staff are paid considering responsibilities, training, stresses, and knowledge they are all expected to carry.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Absolutely. I would not do a dispensers job for what they are paid. 

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