BUSINESS
04/09/2018 11:50 EDT | Updated 04/09/2018 11:52 EDT

Canadian Firms Must Report Gender Pay Gap In U.K., And It's Huge

Several banks said the mean hourly rate was between 35 and 44 per cent lower than men's rate.

Bank of Nova Scotia signage is displayed outside Scotia Plaza in Toronto, on Feb. 12, 2018.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bank of Nova Scotia signage is displayed outside Scotia Plaza in Toronto, on Feb. 12, 2018.

MONTREAL — Some of Canada's largest banks, engineering firms, retailers and other companies pay their female British employees substantially less than their male counterparts and give out lower bonuses, according to gender pay disclosures filed in the United Kingdom.

The Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and Toronto-Dominion said the mean hourly rate for their U.K.-based female workers was between 35 and 44 per cent lower than men's rate. On average, women's bonuses were between 64 and 72 per cent lower than their male counterparts.

Speaking at Royal Bank's annual general meeting Friday, days after the submission deadline in the U.K., chief executive Dave McKay told reporters that the discrepancy is largely due to the challenge of getting more women in senior roles and positions in capital markets, wealth management and brokers where compensation is greatest.

"We have to do more, and we have to change those roles, to make them more attractive, to bring the diversity, because I think we will perform better over time."

Uneven distribution of women across departments: Scotiabank

According the Equality Act, all U.K. employers with 250 or more employees must submit facts about the salary and bonuses they paid to employees, including the proportions of men and women who receive bonuses and the proportions of each sex in each quartile pay band.

BlueBay Asset Management, a London-based money manager owned by Royal Bank, had a 19 per cent hourly pay gap and 56 per cent difference for bonuses.

F&C Asset Management, which is owned by the Bank of Montreal, reported a wage gap of 34 per cent and an 82 per cent gap in bonuses paid.

Scotiabank said its 44 per cent wage gap and 72 per cent difference in bonuses primarily results from an uneven distribution of women across the business and some departments and roles with few or no women.

The best performers among Canadian companies were Cott Beverages Ltd. and Bombardier Transportation.

Bombardier's rail division had a 2.8 per cent gap on hourly wages but paid 14 per cent higher bonuses to women.

Managing director Richard Hunter noted the company's gap was narrower than the national average.

"We are committed to make working at Bombardier inclusive and accessible to all, but today some groups remain significantly under-represented, including women — a problem throughout the wider rail and engineering industry," he said in a report.

Montreal-based engineering firms WSP Global and SNC-Lavalin reported large gaps in wages and bonuses.

WSP's hourly wage gap was 25 per cent while its women received 55 per cent lower bonuses, while SNC-Lavalin said its wage gap was 38 per cent and the bonus gap was 67 per cent.

Philip Hoare, SNC's CEO of U.K. and Europe, said that like most firms in the engineering and construction sector, its gender pay gap is largely a reflection that men account for nearly 75 per cent of its combined workforce and more than four to one in senior positions.

Gap persists in women-dominated workforces

But similar pay gaps were also reflected at companies where most of the employees are women.

At Lululemon Athletica UK Ltd. women earned 21 per cent less than men, a wider gap than the 17.4 per cent UK average, while bonuses were 59 per cent lower.

The Vancouver-based company which operates 13 retail locations across England and Scotland said it has achieved total pay equity as of this month. However, its wage gap is skewed by the compensation of one male executive with global responsibilities.

At Selfridges Retail Ltd., part of a group of retailers including Holt Renfrew that is owned by W. Galen Weston, about 60 per cent of its staff are female, but the wage gap was 14 per cent and its bonus gap 39 per cent. The company said there are more men in senior roles in digital and IT teams, which are part of its growth plans.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. said its wage gap was almost six per cent and the difference in bonuses was 26 per cent, while McCain Foods (G.B.) Ltd. said its wage gap was nine per cent but women earned 72 per cent lower bonuses.

Thomson Reuters Professional UK Ltd. said its wage gap was just 2.4 per cent but its mean bonuses were 51 per cent lower for women. The wage gap was 20 per cent at Reuters Ltd. and the mean bonus gap was 41 per cent.

Like most organizations, Thomson Reuters said the gap flows from 71 per cent of its senior leadership roles being men and 23 per cent of its overall employment is in technology positions that have traditionally attracted more men than women.

Other Canadian companies including information technology firm CGI IT UK Ltd., Open Text UK Ltd. and Waterloo-based Blackberry UK Ltd.

It is only by approaching diversity with mutual and consistent action that we can close the gap.

Toronto-based real estate firm Colliers International said its wage gap was 44 per cent and its female workers earned 77 per cent lower bonuses.

Since 2012 its female workforce increased 30 cent resulting in 42 per cent are now women.

U.K. and Ireland CEO Tony Horrell said the company is trying to encourage more women to consider commercial property as a career.

"It is only by approaching diversity with mutual and consistent action that we can close the gap."

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