Gender pay gap: Major labels reveal latest figures and next steps

Gender pay gap: Major labels reveal latest figures and next steps

The pandemic disrupted the gender pay gap reporting figures in the UK, but the requirement for larger companies is now back on track.

All the major labels in the UK are obligated to publish their figures, which have made uncomfortable reading since the process began in 2017/18. But it’s also led to an increased focus on achieving parity in terms of remuneration based on the company-wide average.

Here, Music Week reveals the latest figures…

Universal Music UK

Based on the April 5, 2021 snapshot, Universal Music UK has a median gender pay gap of 27.3% (25.3% in 2020) and a mean (average) pay gap of 31% (29.2% in 2020).

Women occupy 27% of the highest paid jobs and 56% of the lowest paid jobs.

Bonus pay at Universal went to 81% of women and 87% of men. The median bonus pay gap is 47.7% and the mean bonus pay gap is 59.3%. In the prior year, women’s median bonus pay was 57.2% lower than men’s, while mean bonus pay was 49.6% lower.

Universal Music’s report was signed by chief people and inclusion officer Morna Cook (pictured), along with COO David Sharpe and Peter Wheeldon, SVP, people, inclusion and culture.

“While we are on the path to narrowing the pay gap, the positive effects of the actions we’re taking can take time to be reflected positively in the gender pay gap measure,” said the major.

Universal has launched the Women In A&R support programme to address the fact that twice as many men as women are employed in that area (not including admin roles).  

The market leader has also launched mentoring and training initiatives, as well as introducing family-friendly workplace policies.

Sony Music UK

According to the snapshot last year, Sony Music UK has a median pay gap of 15% (8.7% in 2020) and a mean pay gap of 27.9% (2020: 25.4%).

Women at the major occupy 38.1% of the highest paid jobs and 66.1% of the lowest paid roles.

The proportion receiving bonuses was close to parity - 81% of women and 83.5% of men. But the median bonus pay gap is 22.1% and the mean bonus pay gap is 57.8%.

In the prior year, the median bonus pay gap was 19.3% and the mean bonus pay gap was 50.4%. 

"At Sony Music we have a constant focus on how to improve our talent pipeline and better support female leaders. We have instigated a number of important policies and initiatives this year, and have continued to appoint women to senior roles, although we still have more senior men than women, and this year’s figures reflect this," said the company.

Sony now offers Equal Parental Leave, alongside policies on menopause, pregnancy loss and domestic abuse. The major has recruited an in-house director of employee & artist wellbeing. The intake for its new A&R Academy is 80% female.

The new reciprocal mentoring site is open to all, with a particular focus on helping women develop their skillsets. A new women’s network SWIM – Sony Women In Music – champions female issues in the workplace.

Sony has also voluntarily reported its ethnic pay gap figures. UK, Black, Asian and minority ethnic permanent employees comprise 24% of its workforce. There are more non-white staff at the junior end of the company (37%), while at the middle management and senior level the composition is 20-22% minority ethnic. The senior management team is 38% non-white.

Warner Music UK

Warner Music UK opted to report its 2021 figures last year alongside the 2020 numbers. But to recap: the figures show a 17.8% median pay gap and a 36.7% mean pay gap

In the prior year, Warner reported a median gender pay gap of 14.5% and a mean pay gap of 30%.

Women occupy 34% of the highest paid jobs and 57% of the lowest paid jobs. The 2021 figures also show that 80% of women received a bonus, compared to 91% of men.

The 2021 mean bonus gap is 65.6% (56.9% in 2020) and the median bonus gap is 20.6% (37.9% in 2020) .

By the end of 2025, Warner has set a target to increase female representation in the combined senior and executive positions to 50%. It also aims to maintain an equal split across the company.

Initiatives include a mentorship programme, learning resources, development opportunities and the introduction of the WMUK Work, Family and Household Support Guide.


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