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Marks & Spencer publishes gender pay gap and pledges to extend monitoring to age, ethnicity and disability

Lauretta Roberts
27 February 2018

Marks & Spencer has published its gender pay gap report, ahead of a government requirement to do so, and has pledged to extend pay gap monitoring to include age (where known), ethnicity and disability by 2020.

The report reveals that the mean (average) pay gap between women and men is 12.3% and 3.3% on a median (mid-point) basis, which M&S attributes to the fact that many more women are employed in entry level roles "where flexible working is more prevalent and we see more women than men wishing to work part-time."

M&S also has a far greater number of men in senior positions. Of an overall workforce of 85,209, 72% are female and 28% male. At senior manager level - representing 157 staff - 42.7% are female and 57.3% are male. At board level - representing 10 staff - 70% are male and 30% are female.

The higher volume of women working part-time also affected the bonus pay gap, the retailer said. Of all the women it employs, 77% work part-time (compared to 54% of men) and any bonus is calculated pro-rata. The mean bonus gap is 53.4% on a mean basis or 15.9% on a median basis.

M&S said it was taking steps to address the number of women represented at all levels of the business by providing additional career support to help women up the career ladder, for instance by providing leadership development and one-to-one coaching for mid-career women to prepare them for senior roles. It is also also delivering inclusive leadership workshops for the line managers of women at this level.

M&S Marks & Spencer

M&S CEO Steve Rowe

In addition M&S is planning to promote the ability to work part-time to both men and women and encourage applicants to ask about this at their job interviews.

"Our job adverts will encourage people to ask us about flexible working – we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to ask about this and to show it is an important part of our culture," said CEO Steve Rowe.

"We will also run an internal campaign to ensure that existing employees know about flexible working and have the opportunity to participate – sharing case studies of male job shares, men working part-time and men taking shared parental leave," Rowe added.

The business also pledged to roll out its monitoring of pay gaps to other areas such as age, ethnicity and disability. It has recently introduced voluntary disclosure of ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability to our "Colleague Survey" which it says will help it to build up a better picture of our workforce and "drive action to greater inclusivity".

M&S's gender pay gap report reveals a similar picture to those of other retailers who have published their information ahead of the government's requirement to do so (all businesses of 250 employees or more must publish their pay gap figures by 30 March).

However, while M&S acknowledges room for improvement and has set out a plan to achieve that, it is outperforming the sector as a whole. Across retail the mean pay gap is said to be 16.4%, compared to M&S's 12.3%, according to recent figures from the Office of National Statistics. Across all sectors the mean pay gap is 17.4%.

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