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April 17, 2024updated 18 Apr 2024 10:01am

More women in top roles as media industry gender pay gap slowly narrows

Average gender pay gap across major UK media organisations now stands at 11%.

By Charlotte Tobitt

Three-quarters of the UK’s biggest media organisations increased the percentage of women in their top teams in the past year.

Of 34 media organisations big enough to be required to report gender pay data to the Government, 26 (or 76%) increased the proportion of women in their top pay quarter between 2022 and 2023.

As of the latest snapshot date of 5 April 2023, there were more men than women within the top 25% paid employees at 79% of the companies in our analysis. This is down from 91% a year earlier.

Bloomberg (21.7% women), Sun publisher News Group Newspapers (27.5%) and Mirror Group Newspapers (28%) are at the bottom of the table for percentage of women in their top pay band.

It should be noted that the figures cover whole companies, which for some such as Bloomberg and Sky UK will mean a majority of roles are not journalism related.

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Two publishers have 50/50 balance in their top teams: Scottish broadcaster STV Television and Newsquest Community Media, the arm of Newsquest that used to be Archant before its 2022 acquisition.

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Five publishers have a majority of women in their top quartiles, led by Hearst on 66% and followed by Conde Nast on 58.9% and Haymarket on 53%.

Which? saw the biggest jump, from 27% representation in 2022 to 51% last year. William Reed was up from 39% to 47% while The Independent went from 33.33% to 39.1%.

Despite most having fewer women than men in their top pay quarter, 82% have more women than men in their lowest-paid group.

The exceptions are Which? (24% women in bottom quarter), Newsquest (28%), Press Association (35.8%), Sky UK (46%), Mirror Group Newspapers (48%) and Bloomberg (49%).

This imbalance suggests more women's careers stall after they have children, or there are other reasons they miss out on promotions.

Average UK media gender pay gap now 11%

This is likely to play a large part in the gender pay gap of the industry, which is now at 11% across the 34 publishers ranked by their data for 5 April 2023.

This means that women are on average paid 11% less than men.

This is a marginal improvement from last year when the average was 12%.

The gender pay gap is not about equal pay and whether men and women are paid the same to do the same jobs, but rather can indicate men dominating in higher-paid roles.

Note: Figures for GB News in 2022 are included in our charts but not in our analysis - the broadcaster was late reporting its figures last year so got missed out of our last set of charts, and it has missed the deadline again this year.

The biggest median gender pay gaps are at Bloomberg (23%) and The Independent (22%). Just behind on 19% are Mail publisher Associated Newspapers, Reuters, Sun publisher News Group Newspapers and Conde Nast.

The smallest pay gap was of 5% at both the Press Association (which last year reported equal pay) and Haymarket. Meanwhile Newsquest paid women 68% more on average - the only publisher to skew towards women.

The average median gender pay gap has decreased from 15.7% in 2017. However some individual publishers have seen their pay gaps increase - for example Mail publisher Associated Newspapers (from 15% in 2017 to 19% in 2023), Hearst (from 17% to 18%) and Sky UK (from 8% to 12%)

Some of the publishers seeing the biggest positive change since 2017 have been The Economist (down from 30% to 16%), Telegraph Media Group (from 23% to 11%), Global (from 21% to 11%) and STV (from 17% to 9%).

The Telegraph said in its pay report: "While our gender pay gap has narrowed significantly over the last few years, and noticeably in relation to others across the industry, we know there is still work to do. We remain committed to reducing our pay gap year on year whilst continuing to attract and retain female talent."

We prioritise the median pay gap in our analysis as organisations such as Scottish charity Close the Gap have said the median is "considered to be a more accurate measure as it is not skewed by very low hourly pay or very high hourly pay".

However we also include the mean in our charts because, as Close the Gap added, "we know the very high-paid people tend to be men, and the very low-paid people tend to be women, and the mean paints an important picture of the pay gap because it reflects this issue".

The biggest mean gender pay gap in 2023 was at Conde Nast (27%) followed by The Independent (23%). The smallest mean gender pay gap was at Newsquest (2%) while two had mean pay gaps favouring women: Reach's local arm Local World (women paid 2% more) and CNN (women paid 9% more).

UK media bonus gender pay gaps

Looking at bonuses, men received more bonus pay than women at almost two-thirds (65%) of companies.

The biggest bonus gaps favouring men were at CNN (men receiving 59% more), Bloomberg (56%) and Reuters (53%).

Seven publishers reported equal bonus pay for men and women when looking at the median: Hearst, ITN, BBC, Times Media, News Group Newspapers, Telegraph Media Group and Future.

The biggest negative bonus gaps, meaning women received more, were at Local World (53%) and Newsquest (42%).

Note: The Press Gazette analysis uses the figures for Reach subsidiaries Mirror Group Newspapers and Local World. The full Reach plc figures were added to our tables after publication.

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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