PRH publishes gender pay gap nine months early and unveils plans for parental leave

PRH publishes gender pay gap nine months early and unveils plans for parental leave

Penguin Random House has revealed its gender pay gap figures nine months early with a largely unchanged balance sheet but with a new initiative which sees all new parents at the company given the opportunity to take 12 months off from next year.

The hourly pay for 2019 numbers are relatively stable compared to last year whilst the mean bonus gap has reduced by 6.3 percentage points. As with last year, attention was drawn to fewer men in entry roles and the gender balance within technology. For the first time, a gender pay employee focus group was launched to gather insight from across the company of 1,775 employees. The pay figures in the report are based on the period from 1st April to 30th April 2019 while the bonus data refers to the period between 6th April 2018 and 5th April this year.

The median gender pay gap has risen marginally by 0.2% [0.2 percentage points], from 3% to 3.2%, which is because of an increase in the number of women in the lower quartile, according to the report. “This reflects the trends we see in recruitment, where 75% of new joiners at entry level 2018 were female,” it reads. The mean gap has moved closer to zero by 0.2 percentage points, going from 9.3% to 9.1% which is apparently due to the increase of women in the upper quartile compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile the biggest change is seen in the median bonus pay gap which has moved from 16.4% to 10.1% meaning women earn 90p for every £1 that men earn. The mean bonus pay gap is relatively unchanged, dipping very slightly from 35.4% to 35.5%, meaning women are paid 65p compared to every £1 men earn.

Across the pay quartiles, there remains a disproportionate number of men in the top bracket compared to the overall gender ratio across the organisation of 64:36 women to men. Women account for 57.6% of the upper quartile - up from 53.6% last year - as well as 67% of the upper middle quartile, also a boost from last year's 65.6%, and 74.9% of the lower middle quartile up from 70.2%. In the lowest pay bracket, women comprise 52.8%, a slight rise from 51.6% last year.

This distribution drives the pay gap, PRH said in its report. “The bonus gap figures reflect the shape of our organisation. Therefore, whilst we have a relatively even gender representation in the top quartile, the fact that we have significantly fewer men at entry- level roles across our Group and Publishing departments means that the overall average bonus payment is higher for men than for women. The high number of men in Technology compounds this, as market-led salary levels in this division mean that the average bonus, as a percentage of salary, is higher than in other departments that are majority female. These two factors, combined with bonus payments being a percentage of salary, mean that the bonus gap is larger than the pay gap,” the report reads. The Bookseller understands there will more announcements regarding female employees in technology roles this autumn.

Breaking down PRH’s two employing entities, across the Random House Group compared to Penguin Books Ltd and DK, there has been little change. The figures show that Random House Group now has a negative median gender pay gap of -2% compared to -1.7% in 2018. The mean gap is broadly the same at 7.5% from 7.6% the previous year.

At Penguin Books Ltd and DK the median gender pay gap is 10.6% compared to 9.6% last year. The mean is 21.7% as opposed to 22.6%. Both entities’ numbers are included here for technical reporting reasons, although DK operates as a separate company.

When the 2018 gender pay gap figures came out in April – revealing that the closure of PRH’s Rugby site pushed the gap further in favour of male employees - PRH also revealed it would publish its 2019 gender pay gap earlier this year. However the publication on Thursday (24th July) does mean they will not be impacted by the new priority areas of focus laid out in the 2018 report. Of the early publication, PRH said in the report: “This means that the action plan is better aligned to the reporting cycle so that we can see the impact of the actions for the year ahead when we next report in July 2020.”

The report comes as PRH unveils plans for a new parental leave policy which comes into force on 1st January 2020. The new arrangements will see all employees offered an equal amount of paid and unpaid parental leave, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and is available to full-time and part-time employees across all levels of the company. There is no requirement to share the parental leave between parents. If both parents are employees of the publisher, they will each have their own entitlement to leave and pay, which they can take at the same time if they choose to.

PRH had already provided a company enhanced paternity policy, beyond the statutory requirements, which previously saw a man who had been with the company for more than one year given four weeks leave and four weeks full pay for paternity leave. The new policy, when it takes effect next year, means that the same man would now be offered 12 months leave and 25 weeks full pay – the same as women. Transgender colleagues are offered exactly the same policy.

It is believed to be one of the only companies in the UK to offer this policy.

HR director Val Garside

In terms of other new developments aside from the parental leave, PRH will also launch guidance and support for employees to set up “Communities” or “Networks”. “When we do this we’ll encourage employees to form a Parents Group and a Women’s Network and we’ll offer a leadership team sponsor,” the report reads.

Other measures to address the pay gap include the mentoring programme continuation – out of 74 mentees 87% are female while 72% of the 70 mentors are female. There is also the leadership development programme which ran with 51 participants, 78% of whom were female. For the period covered in the report, there were also 24 hires at senior level (for roles with a ‘director’ of ‘head of’ title). Eight-three per cent were female and 17% were male.

HR director Val Garside wrote in the introduction to the report: “The reasons for our gender pay gap remain the same as those articulated in our report published three months ago in April, and is largely related to the shape of our organisation. Our current workforce is 64% female and yet this is not represented in our upper pay quartile, which is 57.6% female. We’re pleased that the number of women in our upper pay quartile has increased by 4% [4 percentage points] this year, but we know we must continue to support the progression of women into senior roles, especially after periods of parental leave.”

Of the bolstered parental leave, she told The Bookseller: “This type of parental leave policy, which offers the same leave entitlement to both women and men, is not something which many companies in the UK currently offer and we are very excited to be one of the few to introduce it.”

“We want Penguin Random House to be a progressive and inclusive workplace where all our people can balance the joys and challenges of family life with a successful career. Our ambition is to create a truly level playing field where career progression is about talent and not gender. We are pleased to be changing our parental leave policy to move one step closer to this goal.

“We think it’s time that we change the policies and systems that provide significantly better provision for time off and pay for women over different gendered parents and which perpetuate the view that women are the primary carers.  Making our parental leave policy equal for people all genders means that parents can choose the best way to balance their family life with a successful career, as well as being there for their families in the moments that matter.”

The publication of the gender pay gap follows the PRH Creative Responsibility report which was published last Friday (19th July) which saw an increase in workforce diversity.

All employers with more than 250 staff are required by law to report their 2019 gender pay gaps by 4th April 2020. In a Bookseller survey of 133 publishing employees last year, following the first round of gender pay gap results, women being unfairly affected by maternity leave was a frequent cause for concern.