'We want a business where everyone has a fair opportunity': Biz learns lessons from gender pay gap

'We want a business where everyone has a fair opportunity': Biz learns lessons from gender pay gap

The music industry is facing up to the scale of the gender pay gap among UK employees this week as labels try to tackle the issue.

The three major labels reported the stark figures here as part of the nationwide requirement for companies with more than 250 employees.

Music Week can today reveal Kobalt Music Group’s figures: a median pay gap of 16.4% and a mean of 19.7%. That compares to a national average in full time roles of 9.1% (median) and 14.1% (mean).

The company said it had improved that position since the snapshot in April 2017. The overall pay gap at Kobalt has – like the majors – resulted from the predomninance of men in senior roles. Kobalt said that men are disproportionately represented in the top pay quartile by 75% to 25%. There is a bonus gap of 40.4%.

“It is clear that being a woman is certainly no barrier to reaching the top at Kobalt,” said the company in its gender pay report. “Those in the industry know that A&R is often a male-dominated area, but we are pleased to be bucking that trend as our head of creative in the UK and our chief creative officer, are both women. Women also head up our global neighbouring rights and sync businesses, as well as our global people & culture function. Just a few months ago, we were lucky enough to welcome on board Avid Larizadeh Duggan from GV as chief strategy and business officer.”

In the latest issue of Music Week, diversity consultant Claire Singers, former MD of LD Communications, has offered her vision to tackle the culture at companies. But she suggested it will be the next generation of execs who drive the diversity agenda.

“It’s over to the future millennial leaders to make this happen,” said Singers.

BPI and Brit Awards chief executive Geoff Taylor said the labels’ trade body was well aware of the need for action on the gender pay gap.

“We’ve been quite active when it comes to issues of diversity and inclusion,” he told Music Week. “We had an event here on that subject very recently, and we see our role as promoting awareness, and helping to spread that practice.”

Asked about the figures released by the majors, he commented: “Ultimately it’s for individual companies to set their own employment policies and their own employment for their staff. But ultimately we want to see a business where everyone has a fair opportunity to succeed, and we want a business that is diverse and reflects our population in this country. We support the efforts of our members to achieve that.”

 We want a business that is diverse and reflects our population in this country

Geoff Taylor

The labels have reacted by revealing their plans to tackle the gender pay gap, which is also affecting the live business and the tech sector.

Singers said that Warner Music UK – which reported the biggest gender pay gap of the three majors – has “provided by far the most robust strategy” in response.

Here Music Week presents the action plans drawn up by the three major labels and Kobalt.

Universal Music UK

- Paid intern scheme, which has promoted gender equality since
- Mentoring and coaching, especially women embarking on and returning from maternity leave
- Family-friendly policies and bespoke development programmes

Sony Music UK

- Maintain “attractive” maternity leave policies
- Support working parents by developing a more robust return to work programme
- Deliver learning programmes and foster an open and inclusive environment
- Use range of recruitment sources to attract diverse talent and balanced shortlists

Warner Music UK

- New code of conduct detailing requirement for a “welcoming, professional and inclusive work environment”
- Revised parental leave approach
- Bi-annual salary and benefits to continue to be informed by third-party data from independent human resources consultancy
- Senior management and their entire teams will all join workshops around unconscious bias
- Creating more diverse candidate pools
- Female mentoring scheme
- Bespoke individual training programmes to enhance career development 


- A gender diverse panel to decide on promotions and recruitment
- The hiring of two learning & development professionals
- Establishing a leadership programme to enhance the development of women in senior roles
- Working with employee-led UK diversity and inclusion committee on initiatives
- Diverse group of executives will form a global diversity group to lead from the top


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