Study Reveals Huge Gender Gap in Pay, Rank at British Major Labels

Companies and organizations that employ 250 or more people in the United Kingdom were legally required to reveal their gender pay gaps by April 4, and the results have been sobering for the music industry, according to reports in Music Business Worldwide and Music Week.

Universal, Sony and Warner’s UK companies submitted statistics that show the percentage difference between average hourly earnings for male and female employees, as well as the gender split between males and females across all levels of the businesses and the difference in bonuses paid.

The short version: Males dominate the highest-paid roles, and are paid significantly more overall.

The average gender pay gap across all three companies is 22.7% at Sony, 29.8% and Universal and 49% at Warner. By way of comparison, MBW cited a much lower 10.7% differentiation at the BBC and a much higher one at HSBC bank, which has 59%.

SONY MUSIC UK
The employees in Sony Music UK’s top-earning quartile are 63.3% male and 36.7% female, while the “upper middle” [second] tier is 51.1% male and 48.9% female; the “lower-middle [third tier]” is 52.2% male and 47.8% female; the lowest-paid is 55.6% male and 44.4% female. The company says that 45% of its total UK workforce of 359 employees is female.

The average hourly pay is 22.7% lower for females than males, and female executives receive 45% less in bonus pay on average than males. However, bonuses are given to 74.3% of males and 75.3% of females. “While our gender pay gap is closing, having fewer women in the most senior roles has had an impact,” the company said in its submission, while noting that more than half of its new employees in the past year were women and more than a third from minority backgrounds.

UNIVERSAL MUSIC UK
In the top-earning quartile of Universal Music UK, 70% of employees are male and 30% are female; the second and third tiers are both 57% male and 43% female; the lowest-paid tier is 51% male and 49% female.

The average hourly pay across the company is 29.8% lower for females than males, and female executives are paid 49.2% less in bonus pay than males. Bonuses are given to 74% of male employees and 74% of females.

“Success in our fast-evolving industry depends on us attracting people from all kinds of backgrounds, and having a team that truly reflects and supports the incredible diversity of our artist roster and society,” wrote Morna Cook, senior director of HR, in the submission. “Uniquely in the UK music industry, two of our five “frontline” labels are now led by female presidents [Rebecca Allen at Decca and Jo Charrington, co-president of Capitol Records UK] – promotions not reflected in the period covered by this report.

“The Gender Pay Report we are publishing today, which covers every Universal Music employee based in the UK, shows a gender pay gap which is unacceptable to us,” she continues. “The gap is due to having fewer women than men in senior positions, something we are addressing. We have put in place several measures to accelerate our efforts to promote inclusion and diversity in all its forms.” She cites the company’s paid-intern program, which has brought in more than 400 interns since 2009, half of whom are female and career development to foster the advancement of our female executives, including mentoring and coaching. She also writes, “It’s worth noting that our headline pay gap figures are influenced by bonuses paid to senior A&R staff, an area of the music business which is still male-dominated. To help address that, we have put in place, and are continuing to build, a development plan to increase the number of women in our A&R teams to more closely reflect the overall 50:50 gender splits in our frontline labels.”

WARNER MUSIC UK
In the top-earning quartile of Warner Music UK, 74% of employees are male and 26% are female; the second tier is 56% male and 44% female; the third is 59% male and 41% female; and the lowest-paid tier is 53% male and 47% female. Warner says that 42% of its total UK workforce is female.

The average hourly rate of pay is 49% lower for females than males, and female executives are paid 82% less bonus pay on average than their male counterparts. Bonuses are given to 85% of males and 74% of females.

“Our current gender pay gap numbers make starkly clear the need for us to accelerate the pace of change within our company. For the past three years, we’ve been focused on making WMUK a more dynamic and forward-thinking organisation,” wrote Masha Osherova, WMG’s EVP of human resources, in the company’s submission. “While we’ve made real progress in many different areas, we’re acutely aware there’s still much more work to do, especially if we are to be as diverse and inclusive as we aspire to be and if we are to increase the number of women in leadership roles.” She wrote that female advancement is an “urgent priority” at the company and cited actions including employee-led groups to examine diversity, a new code of conduct, revised parental leave policies and more diverse candidate pools. The company also launched a female-mentoring program last year.

Reps for the three label groups either declined or did not immediately reply to Variety’s inquiries regarding further comment.

 

 

 

 

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