Home » It’s a sin! ‘Unethical firms’ lead way on gender pay

It’s a sin! ‘Unethical firms’ lead way on gender pay

by Press room

So-called sin stocks – selling tobacco and alcohol and shunned by ethical investors – are leading battle to close gender pay gap

Forward thinking: Women typically earn 16 per cent more than men, or £1.16 to every £1, at Diageo, which is run by Debra Crew

So-called sin companies, which sell tobacco and alcohol and are shunned by ethical investors, are unlikely standard-bearers in the battle to close the gender pay gap.

Despite the continuing push for equality, men still earn more than women in most firms and organisations.

But cigarette-maker British American Tobacco is going above and beyond the call of duty on gender pay, according to research into major UK companies.

On average the FTSE 100 firm pays its female employees £1.17 for every £1 earned by their male equivalents.

Guinness-owner Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka, is not far behind.

Women typically earn 16 per cent more than men, or £1.16 to every £1, at the firm, which is run by chief executive Debra Crew.

Consumer goods companies Reckitt and Unilever, along with pharmaceuticals giant GSK, make up the rest of the top five.

The gender pay gap remains stuck at 9.4 per cent in favour of men – the same as five years ago when firms first had to publish figures.

All sectors continue to pay men more than women, but some are worse than others, with banking and finance, construction and education among the biggest offenders. Wealth manager St James’s Place pays women 64p for every £1 a man is paid – less than any other major UK company analysed by Utility Bidder, a switching advice service, using Government data.

Others in the doghouse include three of the UK’s biggest banks – Lloyds, HSBC and Standard Chartered – plus the mining giant Anglo American.

However, Anglo American and St James’s Place showed the biggest increase in women’s pay over the past five years. The research is based on the difference in average hourly pay between men and women. This is not the same as unequal pay – paying women less for the same work – which is illegal.

Firms, charities and public sector departments that have 250 staff or more must publish their gender pay gap on a Government website.

Utility Bidder said: ‘Many companies have been proactive in terms of improving the gender pay gap, but unfortunately some are still stuck in the past.’

A spokesman for St James’s Place said the company was ‘committed to continuing its progress on reducing the gender pay gap’. It added that developing female talent ‘remains a key priority for the business’.

Anglo American said it was making ‘meaningful progress’.

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