Tesco has revealed a gender pay gap of 8.7 per cent, making it the first of the big grocers to report its figures ahead of a government deadline in April.
After analysing pay data of more than 225,000 employees in its UK business, the country’s biggest retailer said its median gender pay gap of 8.7 per cent was “significantly” below the Office for National Statistics’ median of 18.4 per cent.
While the median pay gap identifies the wage of the middle earner, Tesco said its mean – or average – gender pay gap that took into account low and high earners stood at 12 per cent.
However, the grocery retailer’s median bonus gap was 27 per cent and mean bonus gap was 42.6 per cent.
Gender pay gap measures the difference between men and women’s earnings across the business by expressing women’s pay as a percentage of men’s pay.
This is different to equal pay, which refers to men and women receiving equal pay for equal work.
Tesco’s Gender Pay Report 2017 said its gender pay gap was due to “career and lifestyle choices”, with male workers being more likely to take shifts at times that offer premiums, such as nights and bank holidays.
It also highlighted the fact that it had more male staff members in senior positions.
“For the same role, regardless of gender, all our hourly paid colleagues are paid the same hourly rate and premium hourly rate,” Tesco said in its report.
“When we remove the premium payment from the calculation, then the gender pay gap reduces even more significantly to a median of just 2.7 per cent.”
Tesco UK chief executive Matt Davies said: “While we’re pleased that our gender pay gap of 8.7 per cent is significantly below the UK median, we want to close the gap altogether.”
He added: “I’m pleased that we are making progress in this area and exceeded our own target of 25 per cent women on the board by the end of 2017.
“But we know there is more to do when it comes to other leadership roles in our business. So earlier this year we signed up to the 30% Club, which encourages businesses to achieve a minimum of 30 per cent female representation in senior leadership roles by 2020.
“We believe that long-term, sustainable change will take time. But we also believe it is the right thing for our business and essential for our long-term future.”
Tesco’s Gender Pay Report comes as the government prepares to implement new rules from April whereby businesses with more than 250 employees have to publish annual figures breaking down pay.
As part of the process, businesses must upload a report onto a government website, as well as their own.
The report must detail mean and median gender pay gaps, the proportion of men and women receiving a bonus, and the proportion of men and women in each quartile of the company’s pay structure.
Other retailers that have so far revealed their gender pay gap details include Phase Eight, the N Brown Group, John Lewis, White Stuff and New Look.
The news also comes less than a month after legal proceedings began for equal pay claims that could cost the retail giant £4 billion in compensation payments.
Thousands could receive back pay totalling £20,000 if the legal challenge demanding equal pay with men who work in Tesco’s warehouses is successful.
Law firm Leigh Day argue that employees working in the predominantly-male dominated distribution centres are paid more than the largely female-staffed Tesco stores, and because the work between the two is comparable, the disparity needed to be addressed.