Go back

The gender pay gap in maritime

28 February 2017


This time last week I was sat in the comfort of the Clyde and Co. offices in London co-hosting a breakfast meeting for Maritime HR Association members and non-member maritime HR professionals. The subject for this latest networking session was Gender Pay – specifically looking at the recently revised regulations and what this might mean across the UK maritime industry.

Firstly it was reassuring to see so many attendees ready to embrace the requirement; employers seem genuinely keen to determine their gender pay position, even if they do not need to disclose it.

After a quick round of introductions, Heidi Watson (Partner at Clyde & Co.) provided an overview of who the regulations apply to and what needs to be reported. She talked about possible reasons for the gap, and suggested initiatives that can be used to help reduce it. These didn’t seem all too common among the audience – but implementing female focussed solutions such as internal networks, mentoring and support mechanisms for employees with caring responsibilities can be relatively low cost to implement and contribute to real change. Heidi also highlighted the benefits of leadership / talent pipelines – something that stirred some discussion within the room, and something that we also happen to be developing with some of our key clients.

Heidi reported the average UK gender pay gap to be 19%, but when I went on to present some high level analysis on the Maritime HR Association salary data for 2016 it painted a far less favourable picture. The difference between the average hourly rate for men and women was significant indeed, and the difference between average bonus payments was even greater. What was reassuring though was that we found women actually more likely to receive a bonus than men (just of a lesser amount!). The pay quartile analysis was unsurprising though – with women slightly overrepresented at the lower pay quartile and underrepresented at all other levels (with the proportion of women decreasing as salaries increase).

But in the spirit of equal pay I went above and beyond what the regulations ask for and looked at the proportion of women across the Maritime HR Association’s 5 job code levels, as well as the gender pay gap within each. This showed men overrepresented at every job level – somewhat contradictory to the pay quartile analysis I had done, and suggesting that women may be lower paid for work of equivalent value. The average gender pay gap by job level showed a modest gap (just 8%) at the junior / professional level but increasing in line with seniority. The biggest ‘jump’ in the gap seems to occur between senior professionals and managers.

Additional analysis of this nature doesn’t need to be carried out, but neither does it need to be disclosed. It will almost undoubtedly help you pinpoint at the areas where your solutions should be targeted for maximum impact, and you may choose to include some of it in your supporting statement. As well as by job level, I would suggest analysing specific job families too - to identify areas of the business where gender pay is more or less of an issue. As well as looking at areas with a large gap, also think about what you can learn from parts of the business where this isn’t as much of an issue (and celebrate that).

With just over a month now before the snapshot date, there is little time to make drastic change ahead of the analysis. You could draft your action plan though; make sure everyone knows who is doing what and when. Involve your key stakeholders early on too, not forgetting your legal and communications teams who can help you present the least damaging picture. Just reporting the numbers isn’t going to make the change we need – we all need to work together to reduce the gap generally within our society, and hopefully all your efforts will mean you’re be in a position to show a reduction in your gap next year.

If you need help with your analysis or would like to attend future events of this nature, please get in touch via hrc@spinnaker-global.com