The Reykjavik festival, which has signed up to the Keychange initiative, will as of this year have a line-up featuring more female than male performers
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
While some companies narrowed their GPGs compared to last year, the latest figures show there's still plenty of work to be done to close UK live's wage gap
By Jon Chapple on 05 Apr 2019
For the second year running, the UK live music business has revealed its gender pay gap (GPG) statistics, showing a mixed picture in which strides are being made towards gender equality, but where female employees are still vastly outnumbered by their male colleagues at an executive level.
All companies in mainland Britain with more than 250 employees were given until 5 April 2019 to report their gender pay gap – defined as the “difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across a workforce” – for the previous 12 months to the government equalities office. Companies also published data on bonuses and the breakdown of employees’ genders by pay quartile. (Read last year’s results here.)
While it should be noted that GPG measures the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across a whole business – rather than the pay received by male and female employees for doing the same job – all companies surveyed by IQ reiterated their goal of narrowing the gap ahead of next year’s survey and beyond.
See below for how nine of the UK’s largest live music businesses stacked up in 2018/19.
“We are committed to narrowing the gap over time in our business”
Pay gap (mean): 80% (+18%)
Pay gap (median): 23% (-8%)
Live Nation UK’s mean GPG is the widest of the nine companies featured, growing 18%, to 80% (though its median gap narrowed), in 2018 – a reflection, says president Denis Desmond, of the under-representation of women in the wider music industry, especially in the upper echelons.
Writing in LN’s 2018 gender pay gap report, Desmond says the company is “committed to increasing women and diversity in our workforce and being an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed”.
“Women are under-represented in the music business. The gender pay gap is reflective of this, particularly with more men in the revenue-generating roles at the higher end of the salary scale,” he comments.
“This is something we want to see change. Real change requires a dual and sustainable approach; increasing awareness of the career opportunities available and ensuring we do all we can to develop and retain the women already making the industry such an important contributor to the wider UK economy.
“We are committed to bringing more women into our workforce through promoting all types of career options, and particularly helping influence young people to consider our industry. Alongside this we are creating more apprenticeships and internships designed to give people real skills needed to enter this business for a long-term and fulfilling career.”
Desmond reveals Live Nation recently conducted a “job levelling review across the UK” as part of an overhaul of its approach to reward and compensation decisions, in a bid to boost fairness. “Our robust policies and training programmes ensure that we are continually working to ensure no bias exists in our recruitment processes and ensuring we provide full support to all employees in balancing their family lives with the unique demands of the music business,” he continues.
“We see gender pay gap reporting as an opportunity to increase awareness of these challenges and are committed to narrowing the gap over time in our business.”
“Progress is being made, with 75% of all appointments at head of department level and above awarded to female candidates”
Pay gap (mean): 43.6% (+0.3%)
Pay gap (median): 36.8% (-4.4%)
AEG declined to comment on its 2018 gender pay gap, though it made its report available on Monday 8 April.
While its mean GPG widened slightly, its median gap fell by 4.4%, and there are a slightly more women in two pay quartiles – the top (28%, +2%) and lower quartiles (66%, +1%) – compared to 2017. The percentage of women who received bonus pay was flat at 22%, compared to 7% more men (39%).
“Despite having a fairly even split of male to female employees overall, our gender pay gap is significant and we have more work to do to remove this,” writes AEG Europe president Alex Hill. “This gap is created by a higher proportion of women than men in our lower-paid roles and more men than women in our higher-paid roles.
“Our gender pay gap is not acceptable and we must make even greater effort to work towards gender pay neutrality across our business.”
However, he adds, “[p]rogress is being made, highlighted by our figures showing that 75% of all appointments at head of department level and above were awarded to female candidates, and since April 2018, seven of the top 20 roles are now occupied by female employees.”
“SMG Europe is confident that its gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work”
Pay gap (mean): 16.6% (+4.6%)
Pay gap (median): 6% (+2%)
Arena operator SMG Europe’s pay gap slightly widened in 2018, although the proportion of female employees actually increased in every pay quartile. Its results, an SMG spokesperson tells IQ, are skewed by the nearly 20% more women in the lower quartile compared to 2017/18.
“We have undertaken significant resourcing activity in the past 12 months [6 April 2017–5 April 2018]. with 650 new colleagues joining our team,” they say. “The majority of new colleagues are casually engaged team members, of which 66.5% are female and 33.5% male. The recruitment gender ratios were consistent with gender ratio of applicants – ie no positive or other discrimination.
“As of April 2018, a total of 82% of our population comprised casual roles, compared to 77.7% the previous year. All our casually engaged colleagues, who make up the majority of our workforce, are paid at the same hourly rate for the same role, regardless of gender. The shift in our gender pay gap year-on-year is explained by the higher proportion of casually engaged individuals, of which there are proportionately more females this year, which is explained, as noted above, by the higher percentage of female applicants than our existing complement across our casually employed team.
“Our 2018 report also illustrates that women occupy 47% of the highest paid roles, compared to 43.3% the previous year, demonstrating that we have improved the proportion of women occupying the highest paid roles within the organisation.
“SMG Europe is 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.”
“Whilst we are happy that this is going in the right direction, reducing the GPG remains a key priority for Global”
Pay gap (mean): 32.7% (-2.7%)
Pay gap (median): 19.4% (-1.1%)
Global, the UK’s second-largest festival operator, says it remains “committed” to closing its gender pay gap, which narrowed by 2.7% on a mean basis in 2018.
“Our workforce is balanced and fluctuates each month somewhere between 45%/55% female and male employees; however, we recognise that not having enough women in senior leadership roles is a significant factor in driving our GPG,” reads the company’s 2018 gender pay gap report. “In 2018, we are pleased that we have made some improvement across all measures, and reduced the GPG to 32.7%. Whilst we are happy that this is going in the right direction, it remains a key priority for Global, and creating a diverse and fair culture continues to be incredibly important.
“However, we recognise that this is a long-term strategy that takes time and focus, and that we won’t look different overnight. We have identified a number of initiatives existing and new, that will help us to continue to improve.”
These initiatives include its Global Apprenticeship scheme, launched in September 2018, which welcomed 17 apprentices and graduates into programming, digital, video, marketing, technology and commercial roles – of which 53% were female and from a BAME (black, Asian or minority ethnic) background – and a six-month leadership programme, whose alumni include 20 female middle managers who will be supported “in growing their careers at Global”.
“Our gender pay gap reflects the broader societal challenges of getting more women into the technology sector”
Pay gap (mean): 44% (+8%)
Pay gap (median): 23% (+0%)
Ticketmaster’s mean GPG widened to 44%, while its median difference remains at 23%, the same gap as in 2017/18.
According to Mark Yovich, president of Ticketmaster International, its pay gap reflects the dearth of women working in the technology sector – and, if the figure was adjusted to remove employees working on the tech side, the GPG is 4% in favour of female staff.
“Ticketmaster is a vibrant, diverse place to work. We believe that diversity adds value to our workforce and delivers a better service to our fans,” he writes in TM’s 2018 pay gap report.
“As a technology-led business, our gender pay gap reflects the broader societal challenges of getting more women into the technology sector. There is an acute skills shortage in this area, with women accounting for just 25% of all UK STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] graduates. Only 16% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women [source: NCWIT]. Illustrating this challenge, if you remove our technology employees, our mean gender pay gap is minus 4%.
“Of course, we want to see more women in the technology industry and have been working with several organisations who provide opportunities for women to get into tech, including Women Who Code, codebar, Code First: Girls, and have an official partnership with Code Your Future. We host and support these groups with funding and regular meet-ups in our offices. We launched our own female employee resource group, WE Nation, in 2015 which continues to roll strong through our business in both the UK and across our international markets.
To ensure fairness, we have systemised our approach to reward and compensation decisions, including conducting a job levelling review across the UK. Our robust policies and training programmes ensure that we are continually working to ensure no bias exists in our recruitment processes.
“We see gender pay gap reporting as an opportunity to drive awareness about the challenges in our industry. We will continue to support women at all levels in our business. We are committed to increasing women and diversity in our workforce and being an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed.”
“Women are under-represented in the live music industry, and the GPG reflects this”
Pay gap (mean): 21% (-3%)
Pay gap (median): 6% (+5%)
Live Nation-owned venue operator Academy Music Group (AMG) narrowed its mean pay gap to 21% in 2018, though its median GPG widened 5%.
Denis Desmond says AMG, whose venues include O2 Brixton Academy and Shepherds Bush Empire, is focusing on elevating more women into management positions.
“A key area of focus for us is achieving greater representation of women into venue management roles, which are our most senior positions and therefore attract higher rates of pay and bonuses,” he writes. “For venues, the median figure reflects our pay equity in the large volume of roles we regularly hire for where we have greater gender balance.”
“We are training managers to ensure no bias exists in our selection processes and ensuring we provide full support to all employees in balancing their family lives with the unique demands of the music business,” he continues, adding that, like Live Nation, AMG is “committed to narrowing the gap over time in our own business.”
“We are optimistic that plans to … attract, recognise and develop talent will have a real effect on improving gender pay equality at NEC Group”
Pay gap (mean): 11.4% (+1.3%)
Pay gap (median): 9.7% (+2.6%)
NEC Group, which operates five arenas and convention centres in Birmingham, as of April 2018 had 1,861 employees and casual workers, of which 838 were men and 1,023 women. Its median pay gap, which widened 2.6% in 2018, nevertheless bests the UK average of 17.9%, says chief operating officer John Hornby.
Its most recent figures reflect the smaller proportion of men in lower pay quartiles compared to 2017.
“Overall the group’s profile is characterised by high numbers of employees working full and part time in the company’s catering, retail and hospitality operations, and smaller numbers of specialist technical, catering, supervisory and managerial roles,” reads the company’s 2018 GPG report. “The gender pay gap for the group presents a balanced picture, but there is still more to be done to ensure consistent improvement.
“In the past year, further investment has gone into developing our learning and development offer for all staff; for example, the New Leader programme and Experienced Leader programme, targeting those in leadership roles and those for whom a leadership role is the next career step. Since 2014 the team has trained over 260 new managers, with roughly an even male and female candidate profile.”
Hornby also highlights NEC Group’s talent programme, whose fifth cohort of 19 promotions is roughly gender equal, and its apprenticeship scheme.
“We are optimistic that some of these long-term plans to both attract, recognise and develop talent will have a real effect on improving gender pay equality within the NEC Group,” he concludes.
“Even though we’re ahead of most of our music industry peers … we’re not complacent about it – we know we’ve got more to do”
Pay gap (mean): 11.6% (-2.1%)
Pay gap (median): 5% (+1.5%)
Nottingham-based promoter and venue operator DHP Family reported a 2% fall on its already low mean gap compared to last year’s figures, and the company says it does “not have an issue with equal pay. Our gender pay gap derives from fewer female employees within our venue management teams. This is a trend within our industry, whereby there are many more male venue managers across all levels, in particular the more senior the positions.”
While its mean pay gap is well below the national average, its bonus gap (the difference in bonus pay between men and women) remains high, at 48.5%, despite the percentage of women eligible doubling in 2018/19. “We are continuing to work on female representation for bonus eligible roles, and our initiatives to attract and retain females within our venue management and senior management teams are slowly reducing this difference,” according to its 2018 report.
“We’re fully committed to reducing our gender pay gap and I’m pleased to see we’ve made further progress this year,” DHP Family owner George Akins tells IQ.
“Even though we’re ahead of most of our music industry peers and the UK national average, we’re not complacent about it; we know we’ve got more to do and we’ve introduced a number of initiatives that will help in the years ahead.”
“We are making positive steps, but we know there is more we can do”
Pay gap (mean): 16.8% (-0.4%)
Pay gap (median): 9.7% (-1.8%)
Pamela Harding, human resources director at performance rights organisation PRS, welcomes its narrowing pay gap but says there is still more to be done.
She comments: “Although we have seen a slight improvement, we have a continuing gender pay gap as there are fewer women in senior positions than men at PRS for Music. We believe that real progress is achieved through influencing business culture, and in 2018 we commenced our programme to recognise drivers of unconscious bias to better support our efforts to promote diversity and act inclusively. We also continued to take positive action with our new ‘Dignity at Work’ policy and by working with industry experts in diversity and inclusion.
“We are making positive steps, but we know there is more we can do. As we look further ahead, we remain committed to engaging all levels of our business to encourage, support and exemplify our core values and celebrate our differences.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.