Waterstones reports gender pay gap amid wages controversy

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Waterstones pay
// Waterstones reveals gender pay gap data amid living wage row
// Median pay gap rose by 0.2 percentage points to 4.7%
// Mean pay gap narrowed from 13.9% down to 11.7%
// Scores of other retailers have posted their annual gender pay gap data ahead of the April 5 deadline

Waterstones has unveiled its gender pay gap amid a row over whether to increase wages for shop floor staff to that of a living wage rate.

The median gap – the difference in pay between the middle-ranking woman and the middle-ranking man and often seen as an accurate measure – widened to 4.7 per cent this year, compared to last year’s 4.5 per cent.

The books retailer said this was due to a decline in the number of women in its highest-paying roles.

The retailer said its mean gender pay gap – which measures the difference in averages between a company’s total wage spend-per-woman and its total spend-per-man – had narrowed year-on-year from 13.9 per cent down to 11.7 per cent.

The news comes after Waterstones was embroiled in a pay dispute last month, when a viral online petition urged managing director James Daunt to pay the living wage rate to shop floor staff.

The petition now has almost 9000 signatures and accompanied an open letter signed by over 2400 published authors.

Daunt defended Waterstone’s pay structure by saying it was “simply not profitable enough” to increase wages as yet.

Gender pay gap data shows the percentage of women in Waterstone’s top quartile of pay decreased by 1.7 per cent compared to a year earlier, with men now accounting for 54.9 per cent of top earners at the retailer.

Meanwhile, women occupy 67.6 per cent of roles in the lowest quartile of pay, and make up the majority of employees in both the lower and upper middle quartiles.

All firms employing 250 people or more are required to report the gap between the average earnings of men and women by the end of the government financial year.

Gender pay gap is different to equal pay, which deals with the pay differences between men and women who carry out the same jobs.

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