Just under 73% of UK-based beverage companies pay their male employees more than their female staff, according to an analysis by GlobalData.
The figures, based on official reporting from all companies in the UK with a headcount of 250+, show that 12 of the 44 drinks companies that have reported their pay figures had a higher women’s median hourly pay than men. Across the industry, men’s median hourly pay was 4% higher than that of women.
This puts the drinks industry below the UK’s average of 11.6%.
While a high gender pay gap does not imply that women are paid less for the same jobs – this would be illegal under the 1970 Equal Pay Act – it suggests that men tend to dominate the top-paying jobs within companies.
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Women working in beverages occupied 27.4% of the top-paying jobs in the industry, with the rest of the top spots (72.6%) occupied by men.
At the other end of the pay scale, women occupied 37.7% of the lowest-paid jobs in the drinks industry. On average, women also received 13.5% less in bonuses compared to their male co-workers.
Brewer & on-premise operator Wadworth & Co had the biggest difference in median hourly pay, with women earning 34.5% less than men. That means that for each GBP1 (US$1.30) earned by men in the company, women earned 66p. The company was followed by Carlsberg's UK unit, with a pay gap of 34.4% and brewer Frederic Robinson with 30%.
At the other end of this scale, Nestle Waters UK paid women 30% more than men for each hour worked, followed by Accolade Wines, which paid women 24.6% more, and Diageo GB, which paid 23.3% more.
In the 2021-22 reporting year, the gender pay gap in the UK's drinks industry decreased compared to the year before, GlobalData found. However, the gap has increased compared to 2017-18, when the figures were first published.
The data provides several summary indicators, including the difference in mean and median pay for the two genders. Mean pay indicates the average pay across each group, while the median is the value that sits in the middle of a list of salaries arranged from lowest to highest, with half of the salaries being lower than the median and the other half being higher. The median is used to prevent extreme values at either end of the pay scale (a CEO’s salary, for example) from skewing the average. Both indicators have advantages and disadvantages.
To create an indicator for the drinks industry, GlobalData averaged the median pay gaps in the industry and weighted them by the company size. That way, a company with 20,000+ employees would influence the average more than a company that employs 250.
While the figures are a good indication of the issue in the beverages industry, they should not necessarily be taken at face value. As the first chart suggests, many companies report a gender pay gap of zero, which is statistically improbable. A minority of companies also reported a gender pay gap of 100%, which might indicate they have no female employees at all.
Because companies are only compelled to disclose summary statistics, these figures cannot be verified.