Mobile navigation


Huge gender pay gap revealed in the media industry

Women in the media industry are losing out to men in pay, says the NUJ, with their male colleagues earning more, occupying more senior roles and receiving bigger bonuses, the government gender pay reporting service has revealed.

Huge gender pay gap revealed in the media industry

As reported by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ): The figures have laid bare the yawning gap between the sexes in the media and publishing. They have shown why greater transparency is needed if workplaces are to address this differential and unions are able to negotiate fairer pay systems.

An analysis by the Press Gazette showed that 91 per cent of UK-based media companies paid men more than women on average, based on the mean hourly rate, and 85 per cent paid men more in mean bonus pay.

The union is encouraging chapels to carry out their own pay audits to find out how pay is distributed across staff, including by age, ethnicity, length of service, progression and their access to flexible working.

The disparity in pay is not because women are less well qualified or fewer of them enter the industry. Yet, it is overwhelmingly men who occupy the top-paying roles.

Prime Minister Theresa May chose the Daily Telegraph to write about the new gender reporting rules. She said: "By making this information public, organisations will no longer have anywhere to hide. We will have established a baseline from which to hold them to account in the future. Shareholders and customers will expect to see improvements, and will be able to hold organisations to account if they fail to achieve them."

The Telegraph has one of the highest gender pay gaps in the media, with women getting paid 35 per cent less than men on average. Almost three-quarters of the Telegraph's highest-paid staff are men, with women making up 61.6 per cent of the bottom quartile. Men received bonuses of almost twice those paid to women on average. Chief executive Nick Hugh said he was committed to reducing the pay gap disparity to zero by 2025.

At Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair, the women’s mean hourly rate was 36.9 per cent, meaning women there earned 63p for every £1 that men earned (median 23.3 per cent).

News UK, which includes The Times, Sunday Times, TLS, the Sun, Sun on Sunday and the organisation's commercial operation reported a mean gender pay gap of 15.2 per cent (22 per cent median). Men make up 72.3 per cent of the top pay quartile. At the Sun, the pay gap was 24.8 per cent (mean) and men occupied 83.6 per cent of the top quartile. At talkSPORT the mean gender pay gap was 15.1 per cent, with 71.4 per cent of men with the best-paid jobs.

The Economist Group revealed a mean gender pay gap of 32.5 per cent; in its top pay quartile there are 76 per cent men and 24 per cent women. The publishers Hachette posted a 30 per cent pay gap (mean) between men and women on the government website.

Companies are not required to give any explanation of the disparity nor put in place any remedy to close the gap. However, many companies have used the disclosure to make targets and a number have set up internal working groups to look at the issue.

ITN, which produces news for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, paid men an average of 19.6 per cent more than women and on bonus payments the gap jumped to 77.2 per cent. The company said the pay disparity was mainly due to having more men in senior roles, with 17 of its 20 top earners being men. The company has now published a set of targets – a 50 per cent reduction in the pay gap in five years and a third of the 20 top-earning roles occupied by women within three years – and it will publish salary bands for all roles, introduce a development programme for high potential women (and men), plus family-friendly working policies.

The Press Association, however, published just the minimum data required and the NUJ was rebuffed when it approached the news agency, offering to discuss way to improve the situation where a only third of its workforce were women and men got the lion's share of the bonuses.

Séamus Dooley, assistant general secretary, said: "Sadly these figures confirm what the NUJ has been highlighting for a number of years. Equality is the cornerstone of our work at the NUJ. Media organisations must address structural inequalities in their own companies and address a culture that is clearly discriminating against women. Pius platitudes or high rhetoric are not acceptable; we need an industry-wide commitment to stamping out inequality.”

Natasha Morris, legal & equality officer, said: “It is clear from the latest figures that more needs to be done to support women into senior positions within the workplace, ensuring that maternity leave does not mean the end of career progression. Employers must cultivate a culture where shared parental responsibility is the norm and not the exception and part-time roles are better paid. It is vital that companies are transparent about pay and where inequality is identified that robust and immediate measures are taken to address these issues. It is encouraging however that more and more individuals are collectively seeking the support of the NUJ to challenge their employers over pay.”

The NUJ's campaign page Equal pay & gender pay gap gives advice and information for union chapels on how to use this data to negotiate better pay policies with their employers and to galvanise concerned staff to challenge these unacceptable pay gaps by getting involved and joining the NUJ. The highlighting of the pay gap and unequal pay at the BBC has led to increased recruitment for the union at the corporation.

Action plan:

  • Look through the data for your company and the company's response and call a meeting of staff to discuss the issues.
  • The TUC's gender reporting guide has a checklist for union reps when negotiating with management to put in place greater transparency in salary grades, recruitment strategies, criteria for bonuses, flexible working and family friendly policies. Only two per cent of men have taken up shared parental leave – does there need to be a change in workplace culture to encourage them to take it?
  • Set up your own pay audit; the NUJ can help you with your survey.
  • If your company has set targets, make sure they are kept and are not platitudes and PR.

Links / further reading: The TUC's gender reporting guide