Transport, construction and finance companies are coming under pressure to justify expected gender pay gaps

Transport, construction and finance companies are likely to come under the most pressure to justify expected gender pay gaps next year.

The Ibec group of companies has told chiefs to come up with a “robust narrative” to explain as they enter their first ever earnings season in December.

New law requires Irish-based companies with over 250 employees to calculate and report any differences in average hourly wages between men and women, along with data on bonuses and gender distribution across all pay scales.

Low-cost airline Ryanair and Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group were among the Irish companies with the widest gender pay gap in their UK-based operations last year. Since 2017, large UK based companies have had to report the data.

Ryanair’s average hourly wage for men was 45.12 per cent higher than for women last year – lower than in 2020 due to pandemic furlough schemes but still the highest in a selection of reports examined by the Irish Independent.

The company said this is because “the majority of our UK pilots are male, while the majority of our UK cabin crew are female” and insisted that “Ryanair women are paid the same as their male counterparts in every category.”

The UK arms of Bank of Ireland, AIB, building materials giant CRH and builder Cairn Homes also reported wage differentials of close to or over 20 per cent for 2021, although many are seeing those gaps narrowing.

Hotel group Dalata, whose staff in “operational roles” are predominantly women, saw an average hourly gender pay gap of just 7.02 per cent in the UK last year, a slight increase from 2020

“Overall it shows us as a society that the traditional industries may still exist, although we would like to think they don’t,” said Moira Grassick, chief operating officer at employment law firm Peninsula Ireland.

The gender pay gap is different from wage discrimination – paying men and women differently for the same work – which is illegal.

“This does not indicate discrimination or bias or even a lack of equal pay for work of equal value,” said Ibec’s director of social policy, Dr. Kara McGann.

“But it does report a gap in gender representation and whether women are equally represented across the organization.”

Ireland’s economy-wide gender pay gap was estimated by Eurostat at 11.3 per cent, below the EU average of 13 per cent in 2020.

Telecoms provider Eir, one of the Irish companies voluntarily reporting on its pay gap here, said it was paying men on average 11.2 per cent more than women in 2021.

The Bank of Ireland’s pay gap for its Irish operations was 23.8 per cent last year.

One Post said it closed its gender pay gap in 2021.

A study by online job search service shows that women in new positions were paid an average of 4 per cent more than men in 2022, a turnaround from pre-pandemic times when men were paid 10 per cent more.

But chief executive Gerard Doyle said one of the challenges he faces is getting women shortlisted for top jobs.

“They tend to filter themselves out of the process,” he said. “It means men get the interviews, get the jobs, and get the higher pay.”

Companies will be required to publish pay gap reports from next month, although they can omit employees who don’t match either gender.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission can obtain a court order for companies that fail to do so. Transport, construction and finance companies are coming under pressure to justify expected gender pay gaps

Fry Electronics Team

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