Penguin Random House (“PRH”) has blown other employers out of the water as it releases its gender pay gap results 9 months ahead of the deadline.

As you may know, legislation introduced last year requires organisations with 250+ employees to publish (1) the differences in mean and median hourly rates of pay for male and female full-time employees, (2) the gap in mean and median bonus pay for men and women, (3) the proportions of male and female employees awarded bonus pay and (4) the proportions of male and female full-time employees in the quartile pay bands.

PRH reported a 9.1% mean gender pay gap for fixed hourly pay in April 2019 and its median pay gap for fixed hourly pay is 3.2% compared to 3% compared to the same month last year.

It was suggested that the disparity between the mean and median pay gap is due to the increase in female staff joining the company at entry-level. The overall gender pay gap was attributed to the lack of men occupying entry-level roles, men tend to be employed in the company’s technological department where 68% are male.

The mean gender pay gap for bonuses is 35.4% compared to 35.5% last year whereas the median gender pay gap is 10.1% reduced from 16.4%. The report noted:

“The bonus gap figures reflect the shape of our organisation. Therefore, whilst we have a relatively even gender representation in the top quartile, the fact that we have significantly fewer men at entry- level roles across our Group and Publishing departments means that the overall average bonus payment is higher for men than for women. The high number of men in Technology compounds this, as market-led salary levels in this division mean that the average bonus, as a percentage of salary, is higher than in other departments that are majority female. These two factors, combined with bonus payments being a percentage of salary, mean that the bonus gap is larger than the pay gap”.

The quartile make up for 2019 is set out below:

  • Upper quartile – women account for 57.6% up from 53.6%
  • Upper Middle quartile – women account for 67 up from 65.6%
  • Lower Middle quartile – women account for 74.9% up from 70.2%
  • Lowest quartile – women account for 52.8% up from 51.6%

How is PRH tackling its gender pay gap?

  • Equalising parental leave – PRH’s are introducing a new policy coming into effect next year which will allow staff, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, to take up to 12 months leave and 25 weeks full pay – the same as women.
  • PRH are to launch guidance for employees to set up “networks” for women.
  • Plans to continue its mentoring programme and leadership development programme which already have a high percentage of women.
  • Plans to achieve transparent pay bands by the end of this year.

PRH’s gender pay gap report is honest, ambitious and accurate. It’s refreshing to see an employer ahead of the game. The company’s HR Director, Val Garside, commented:

“We want Penguin Random House to be a progressive and inclusive workplace where all our people can balance the joys and challenges of family life with a successful career. Our ambition is to create a truly level playing field where career progression is about talent and not gender. We are pleased to be changing our parental leave policy to move one step closer to this goal.

“We think it’s time that we change the policies and systems that provide significantly better provision for time off and pay for women over different gendered parents and which perpetuate the view that women are the primary carers.  Making our parental leave policy equal for people all genders means that parents can choose the best way to balance their family life with a successful career, as well as being there for their families in the moments that matter.”