Channel 4 reveals 28.6% gender pay gap

Sarah Butler
The Channel 4 headquarters in Horseferry Road, London. There are nearly twice as many women as men in lower paid roles at the broadcaster. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

Women at Channel 4 earn almost 30% less in average hourly pay than men working at the broadcaster, where two-thirds of the top 100 best paid staff are men.

Alex Mahon, the company’s female chief executive, who joined the company late last year, said: “This number obviously makes for uncomfortable reading and I am determined to take action to address it. There is no quick fix, but identifying the complex and multiple reasons behind our gap is the first step towards tackling the fundamental issues at play.”

Channel 4 says its 28.6% mean average pay gap was down to men holding a higher proportion of senior positions, including in departments that attract higher average salaries overall. “This factor accounts for close to half of our gender pay gap,” its report said.

There are nearly twice as many women as men in lower paid roles at Channel 4. Overall women make up nearly 60% of the company’s employees but 66% of the top 100 roles are held by men.

The gender pay gap refers to the difference in average hourly earnings between all men and all women working for an organisation regardless of their roles, rather than men and women in the same role.

All companies employing more than 250 people must file pay gap data under a government initiative which is highlighting the greater prevalence of men in highly paid roles. Women are generally more likely to hold the majority of lower paid roles in an organisation.

Channel 4’s mean pay gap, calculated by adding up the pay of all men and all women and dividing it by the number of employees of that gender, is higher than other media companies that have reported. Guardian News & Media (GNM), owner of The Guardian, reported an 11.3% gap last week, which is similar to the BBC, where women earn an average of 10.7% less. The mean gap is 18% at Trinity Mirror, owner of the Daily Mirror, and 19.6% at ITN.

The median gap, which takes the mid-point when all wage rates are lined up from the biggest to smallest – reducing the impact of one-off outliers – is 24.2% at Channel 4; 12.1% at GNM; 9.3% at the BBC; 15% at Trinity Mirror and 18.2% at ITN.

Channel 4 said it was aiming for a 50:50 gender balance among its top 100 earners by 2023.

The company said: “We have taken steps to increase the proportion of women in senior roles – for example, growing the proportion of female heads of department by 11% between March 2016 and March 2017 to reach 41% of total heads, but there is still further progress needed, most notably at the highest-paying levels.”