Revealed: The retailers with the biggest gender pay gaps

Gender pay

Just under a year ago, the government passed legislation requiring any companies with over 250 staff to publicly upload annual reports of their gender pay gaps.

Retail employs just under three million people in the UK, 60 per cent of whom are female. Despite this, just 10 per cent of retail boardroom positions are held by females.

In an industry where 90 per cent of transactional decisions are made by women, the disparity in pay is perhaps one of the most significant among all industries in the country.

As the inaugural deadline looms for all companies to have their annual gender pay gap reports published, the Retail Gazette takes a closer look at which major retailers, so far, are leading the way and which retailers have the most work to do.

The reports are broken down here into three categories. The first two are the average figures of how much less women are paid than men in both mean and median terms.

There is also a breakdown of how four separate pay tiers (and therefore seniority) are split between genders. This is particularly relevant as a majority of retailers cite having a disproportionate amount of females in the top pay tiers as key influence on their mean and median figures.

It also also important to note that gender pay gap is different to equal pay, which deals with the pay differences between men and women who carry out the same jobs.


Mean 11.5 per cent – Median 4.8 per cent

Women represent close to 50 per cent of employees across all pay tiers, other than highest where it drops to 30 per cent.


Mean 12.5 per cent – Median 8.9 per cent

Women dominate the bottom tier representing 70 per cent. This drops gradually across the pay grades at 64, 56 and 34 per cent at the very top.


Mean 11 per cent – Median 9 per cent

Women represented around 65 per cent of employees at all pay tiers except the lower middle which dropped to 54.


Mean 8.8 per cent – Median 2 per cent

In the bottom three tiers, the proportion of women sits in the mid-40s, dropping to 38 per cent in the highest tier.


Mean 6.2 per cent – Median 2 per cent

Close to a 50-50 spread across all tiers, dropping to 45 per cent in the lower middle tier.

Evans Cycles

Mean 6.6 per cent – Median 4.1 per cent

More women in top tier than in the bottom, though almost all are weighted towards men in the high 80s.

Hugo Boss

Mean 7.2 per cent – Median 4.7 per cent

The proportion of women in the lowest tier is 49 per cent, rising incrementally by roughly five per cent in each higher tier.

JD Williams

Mean 5.9 per cent – Median 7.2 per cent

Women hold the majority across the entire pay spectrum, increasing in the upper two tiers to around 60 per cent, up from 55.

John Lewis

Mean 13.9 per cent – Median 7.8 per cent

Women in the bottom two tiers sit in the mid-60s, while shrinking in the top two to 44 per cent at top level.


Mean 1.2 per cent – Median 4.4 per cent

Fairly even spread across all tiers, with top tier sitting at an even 50-50, while the middle tiers drop to around 45 per cent.

Louis Vuitton

Mean 5 per cent – Median 2 per cent

Women dominate all tiers, sitting at nearly 70 per cent at the lowest tier and close to 60 per cent in the upper three.

Marks & Spencer

Mean 12.3 per cent – Median 3.3 per cent

Some of the highest numbers of female employees in the bottom tiers, both sitting at around 75 per cent, dropping to by around 10 per cent in the top tier but remaining female dominated.

Moss Bros

Mean 1.6 per cent – Median 2.5 per cent

Though it has one of the lowest pay gaps, it also has one of the lowest proportions of women employees, sitting at 30 per cent in the top tier, rising gradually to 35 per cent in the bottom three.

New Look

Mean 30 per cent – Median 20.9 per cent

As well as having one of the biggest gaps in the list, it also has one of the highest proportions of women in its bottom tiers, with the lowest two sitting at around 90 per cent, dropping to 70 per cent in the top tier.


Mean 1.4 per cent – Median 1.9 per cent

Despite one of the lowest gaps, Ocado also has one of the lowest proportions of women across all pay tiers, sitting below 20 per cent in all tiers but the highest at 23 per cent.

One Stop

Mean 9.6 per cent – Median 3.2 per cent

The tiers are fairly mixed, with the top sitting close to an even split, while the bottom three tears range from 60-70 per cent female.

Oliver Bonas

Mean 9.6 per cent – Median 1.4 per cent

One of the highest proportions of women in the list, with the proportion in every tier sitting in the low to mid-80s.

Phase Eight

Mean 64.8 per cent – Median 54.5 per cent

The highest pay gap and also the highest proportion of women by a wide margin, with the bottom three tiers sitting at 99.7 per cent, dropping to 90 in the highest tier.


Mean 7.1 per cent – Median 5.7 per cent

Marginally male-dominated across all tiers, with the proportion of females sitting in the 40s across the bottom three pay levels, dropping to 35.5 per cent at the top.


Mean 11.5 per cent – Median 8.4 per cent

Fairly even split across all tiers, with women representing 66 per cent of the lowest tier, dropping incrementally to 41 per cent in the top tier.


Mean 12.9 per cent – Median 6 per cent

High proportion of women across the bottom three tiers, ranging from 70–80 per cent, while the highest tier is split almost evenly.

Vivienne Westwood

Mean 9 per cent – Median 0 per cent

The only retailer to have a median of 0, while women dominate all pay quarterlies ranging from 60–70 per cent.

White Stuff

Mean 30 per cent – Median 10 per cent

As with the other retailers with large pay gaps, all pay tiers are heavily female dominated, with the bottom three sitting at 90 per cent, dropping to 80 at the top pay level.

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