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April 6, 2022updated 25 Jul 2022 5:56pm

Exclusive: How big is the gender pay gap in the UK food manufacturing industry?

We analysed tens of thousands of official records to rank UK food manufacturers.

By Data Journalism Team

More than three-quarters of major UK food manufacturers pay their male employees more than their female staff, a Just Food analysis can reveal.

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The figures, which are based on reporting from all companies in the UK with a headcount of 250 employees or more, show only 45 of the 214 companies that have reported their pay figures had a higher women’s median hourly pay than men.

Across the sector, men’s median hourly pay was 7% higher than that of women. This puts the UK food manufacturing industry below the national average of 11.6%.

A high gender pay gap does not necessarily imply women are paid less for the same jobs, which would be illegal under the UK’s 1970 Equal Pay Act. Instead, it may suggest men tend to dominate the top-paying jobs within companies.

Women working in food occupied 30.9% of the top-paying jobs in the UK food manufacturing industry, with the rest of the top spots (69.1%) occupied by men.

At the other end of the pay scale, women occupied 46.4% of the lowest-paid jobs, the data shows.

On average, women also received 0.8% less in bonuses compared to their male co-workers.

Among companies in the food industry, Billington Foodservice Ltd had the biggest difference in median hourly pay, with women earning 30.4% less than men. That means that for each GBP1 (US$1.31) earned by men in the company, women earned 70p. It was followed by Nomad Foods Europe with a pay gap of 28.1% and Greencore Foods Ltd with 28%.

At the other end, Mars Food UK Ltd paid women 41.7% more than men for each hour worked, followed by Cereal Partners UK, the venture between Nestlé and General Mills, which paid women 29% more.

The gender pay gap in the UK food manufacturing industry has increased in the 2021-22 reporting year compared to the year before. The gap has also increased compared to 2017-18, when figures were first published.

A spokesperson for Greencore said “the median gender pay gap for Greencore as a whole, including our main subsidiaries is in fact just 5%”.

He added: “Greencore Foods Ltd. is a very small subsidiary of Greencore Group, which represents circa 750 of our 12,000 strong workforce. We therefore feel that the aggregated 5% figure is more representative of Greencore as a whole.”

Methodology

This analysis is based on data from GOV.UK’s Gender pay gap service. We identified companies in the food industry based on the SIC codes they reported.

The data provides several summary indicators, including the difference in mean and median pay for the two genders. Mean pay indicates the average pay across each group, while the median is the value that sits in the middle of a list of salaries arranged from lowest to highest, with half of salaries being lower than the median and the other half being higher. The median is used to prevent extreme values at either end of the pay scale (a CEO’s salary, for example) from skewing the average. Both indicators have advantages and disadvantages, but we used the median figures in our analysis.

To create an indicator for the food manufacturing industry, we averaged the median pay gaps in the industry and weighted them by the company size. That way, a company with 20,000 or more employees would influence the average more than a company that employs 250 people.

While the figures are a good indication of the state of the industry, they should not necessarily be taken at face value. As the first graphic in the article suggests, many companies report a gender pay gap of zero, which is statistically improbable. A minority of companies also reported a gender pay gap of 100%, which might indicate they have no female employees at all.

Because companies are only compelled to disclose summary statistics, the figures cannot be verified.

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Free eBook
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How a connected workforce increases retention and engagement

Recruiting new employees and engaging current ones in a modern, dynamic, and inclusive working environment will go a long way towards their job satisfaction. Traditionally, manufacturing or other factory workers have been at the tail-end of digitalisation and other technical aids to do their jobs efficiently. No more. Companies around the world have woken up to the fact that if they spend a little effort on addressing cultural concerns of their employees, the benefits are a multiple of any investment. This whitepaper provides pathways for firms to give workers more job satisfaction by having them participate at work in myriad ways.
by Redzone
Enter your details here to receive your free eBook.

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