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‘Not good enough’: UK biz commits to closing gender pay gap

As new figures reveal an industry wide gulf between the average salaries of men and women, all major players reveal they are taking steps to close the pay gap

By Jon Chapple on 05 Apr 2018

Mind the pay gap

image © Álvaro Millán

Senior figures from across the British live music business have told IQ they are committed to ending the disparity in the average pay received by male and female employees, after all large UK companies yesterday published figures showing their respective gender pay gaps.

All companies in mainland Britain with more than 250 employees were given until 30 March 2018 to report their gender pay gap – defined as the “difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across a workforce” – to the government equalities office. Companies also published data on bonuses and the breakdown of employees’ genders by pay quartile.

While the figures largely make for grim reading – at both Live Nation UK and AEG UK, men on average earn more than 40% more than their female colleagues – all concert businesses which published figures say they are taking steps to immediate steps to close the gap.

At Live Nation (Music) UK Ltd, the average gender pay gap is 46%, dropping to 31% when taken on a median basis (the gap between the middle-paid man and middle-paid woman). Of the employees who received bonus pay (32% of men and 29% of women), women’s mean bonus pay is 88% lower than men’s, and median bonus pay 36% lower.

A Live Nation spokesperson says the company is “committed to increasing women and diversity in our workforce and being an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed”, and supporting documentation to its submission highlights four areas targeted for improvement.

In common with its venues business, Academy Music Group (where the relevant figures are a 24% mean gap and 1% median gap), Live Nation says it’s focusing on development, employing 17 new apprentices (gender-balanced) and highlighting company role models to create development paths for employees; talent acquisition, which involves attracting more women through talent networks such as schools and colleges, as well as bias training for hiring managers; company culture, through an employee resource group for women and better family benefits; and leadership, including a mentorship programme for women.

“The statistics highlight the challenge within our industry to attract more women into senior positions”

At The O2-headquartered Anschutz Sports Holdings Ltd (AEG), the mean pay gap is 43.3% in favour of men, while women also earn 41.2% less on a median basis.

Men make up 74% of the highest-paid AEG employees (in the top pay quartile), with 34% of male employees receiving bonuses compared to 22% of women. The mean difference in bonus pay is 62.6% (in favour of men), and the median 16.7%.

According to AEG, its own analysis reveals that “women and men are paid equally for doing equivalent jobs across the company”, with the statistics skewed by the large number of high-paid male execs in the top quartile. As part of its commitments to increasing gender equality, the company has pledged to ensure it isn’t “excluding females from senior roles or promotions”, including by ensuring at least one woman is in every first-round interview pool for all senior roles (head of department and above).

“We fully support the gender pay gap initiative and welcome the spotlight placed on this important issue both in our organisation and in the wider entertainment industry,” Alex Hill, AEG Europe’s COO and CFO, tells IQ.

“We appreciate there is more to do in terms of gender pay neutrality in our industry, and AEG is committed as a business to lead the way on this. We will reduce the gender pay gap, and we have already made commitments including maintaining a fair approach to recruitment, promoting a culture of inclusion and gender neutral pay and reward processes.”

“We know that diverse teams are more successful, more fulfilled and more motivated than those that are uniform”

Arena operator SMG Europe, meanwhile, has reported a gender pay gap of 12% (mean) and 4% (median), with a relatively balanced male-female split across all percentiles. Just 2.9% of men and 1.8% of women received bonuses, although men’s bonus pay was 43.7% (mean)/61.3% (median) higher.

In its gender pay gap report, the company’s EVP of European operations, John Sharkey, says SMG has a “a clear policy of paying employees equally for the same or equivalent work”, regardless of sex, and is “therefore confident that its gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work. Rather, its gender pay gap is the result of the roles in which men and women work within the organisation and the salaries that these roles attract.”

Birmingham-based rival NEC (National Exhibition Centre Ltd) has a 10.1% mean and 7.1% median pay gap, again with a relatively equal gender split across all pay grades. Just over 58% of women received bonuses compared with 66.2% of men, although women’s mean bonus pay is actually 9% higher. (Median bonus pay is 29.4% less.)

The NEC results “present a reasonably well balanced picture overall,” says HR director Jane Jarvis, “but that will not lead to complacency: there is always more that can be done.

“The group will continue to assess and act to address the gaps, looking at development needs via talent mapping and succession planning, and to put in place programmes of support to ensure the right skills and behaviours are in place to enable its people have access to opportunities to be the best they can be.”

“We fully support the gender pay gap initiative and welcome the spotlight placed on this important issue”

At Nottingham-based promoter DHP Family, women are paid 13.7% less on a mean hourly basis and 3.5% on a median basis, with men making up a majority of the workforce across all pay quartiles, especially at the top end. Bonuses are paid to 12.5% of male employees and 2.9% of females, with women who do receive bonuses paid 45.5% (mean) or 8.3% (median) less.

In its gender pay gap report, DHP MD George Akins praises the company for beating the average UK national pay gap, but says it is “committed to reducing our gender pay gap further, and have numerous initiatives to ensure that this happens.

“In short, we take our role within the music industry very seriously, and are working to raise awareness in the industry as a whole to gain commitment to reducing the gap which is common throughout the industry.”

Performance rights organisation/collection society PRS for Music has a pay gap of 17.2% (mean) and 11.5% (median), and while bonuses are paid to 87.6% of women and 88.6% of men, women’s mean bonus pay is 68.6% lower than men’s. Median bonuses are also 24.1% less.

According to Pamela Harding, PRS’s human resources director, the company’s pay gap is largely attributable to the fact there are fewer women in senior positions than men. “We know that diverse teams are more successful, more fulfilled and more motivated than those that are uniform,” she comments. “At PRS for Music we are committed to treating people fairly across all levels of the organisation and making sure they have the same opportunities for career development, reward and recognition.

“Diversity and inclusion are core to our business, and we will continue to take steps forward by establishing an inclusion strategy in 2018 to ensure all of our people feel that they are treated fairly regardless of gender or any other form of diversity.”

“We are committed to increasing women and diversity in our workforce and being an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed”

Similarly pledging to recruit more women into executive roles is radio and media group Global (Global Radio Services Ltd) – after Live Nation, the UK’s second-largest festival operator – whose figures are a 34.5% mean gap and 20.5% median gap. While 53.7% of women receive bonuses, compared to 38.3% of men, men’s bonuses are higher (42.1%/26.4%), reflecting the 64% male top pay quartile.

“Along with many other companies reporting gender pay, the statistics highlight the challenge within our industry to attract more women into senior positions,” Global’s group CEO, Stephen Miron, tells IQ. “At Global, this is something that we take very seriously and are fully committed to addressing.

“While some of our headline figures are not good enough yet, the fact that women make up 36% of the upper quartile and 50% of the upper middle quartile is a better reflection of the ambition of the company to attract more women into senior roles.”

IQ’s own recent investigation into gender equality in the global live business revealed an industry wide culture that can be “sexist, predatory and unequal” – but that things are changing for the better.

Read it here:

Gender: The power of equality

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