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BDP reports architecture’s widest mean gender pay gap so far

Bdp 2392

Female employees at the country’s second-largest architecture practice earn on average 70 pence for every pound earned by their male colleagues, according to newly-released gender pay gap figures

Women’s median hourly rate of pay at BDP is 25.5 per cent lower than men’s.

The mean difference is the highest yet reported among architecture practices: women’s mean hourly rate at the firm is 29.5 per cent lower than men’s. 

Under legislation enacted last year, businesses employing more than 250 people must report their gender pay gap – the difference between the average earnings of men and women – by today (4 April 2018). Their reports must use a snapshot of data from 5 April 2017.

In a report accompanying its figures, BDP’s chief executive John McManus said: ‘As one of the largest employers of female architects in the country, we particularly recognise that our gender pay gap needs to improve and we have already embarked upon a comprehensive action plan to that end.’

McManus added: ‘We are confident that women and men doing the same job in BDP are paid the same.

‘Our bonus payments are not awarded on a discretionary basis but are determined by our profit distribution system for all staff which is linked to pay and grade.’

BDP’s data reveals 77.2 per cent of the practice’s women received bonus pay last year, compared with 81.2 per cent of men. The practice’s median bonus pay gap is 27.5 per cent, while women’s mean bonus pay is 72.5 per cent lower than men’s.  

Women make up 17.1 per cent of the company’s highest paid staff and the majority – 52.2 per cent – of the lowest paid. 

McManus said in the report: ‘Our gender pay gap reflects the simple fact that at BDP there are more men at senior level than women. This is something we are committed to changing and we aim to accelerate our understanding of those issues that impede the progress of women in practice and to take action to break down those barriers.

‘At intake level we have a fairly equal gender balance. We aim to provide a level playing field for everyone across the practice to ensure that women who choose to make a career with BDP will succeed on merit alone.’

He expects to see improvement in the practice’s 2018 figures as a result of actions the practice has put in place. 

BDP is one of the last architectural practices to report its gender pay gap, although, with just one day left to submit the figures, a number of practices are yet to post their figures.

BDP is a member of the AJ/Architectural Review’s Women in Architecture partnership programme. See how architectural practices’ pay gaps compare here.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Unfortunately the way statistics on this issue are compiled, and the assumptions made, means objective reporting of comparisons between practices is exceptionally difficult. The words and language used, always a giveaway about confused thinking by officialdom, are extremely unhelpful. 'Pay' (why not 'salary') sounds one up from 19th century 'wages'; we also hear about 'earnings', 'bonuses', 'mean' and the more sloppy 'average' on some occasions. There is no indication of how the remuneration of part-time 'workers' might skew results as a whole. And what about ownership and dividends? Or benefits in kind? Better of course to have some information than none at all, but I hope we are not going to end up with league tables purporting to show evil versus good. The phrase 'gender pay gap' is almost meaningless, except as a method for producing such a table. By the way, how long will it be before we get 'race pay gap' statistics? Presumably when Whitehall finds a way of recording racial difference in a meaningful way, perhaps re-using the detailed definitions invented by apartheid South Africa. Or perhaps not.

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  • Bruce Buckland

    I agree with Paul.

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  • Or a young person pay gap? Or maybe even a short person pay gap?

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  • Agreed with Paul.

    These are meaningless, unless you look at a full breakdown - from a quick look at BDPs submitted document (...a whopping 1-page summary excluding front cover and back cover...), it doesn't give a lot more information unfortunately, however when you consider:

    "Proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from highest to lowest quartile:

    1st quartile (highest paid) Male: 150 Female: 31
    2nd quartile Male: 120 Female: 61
    3rd quartile Male: 89 Female: 90
    4th quartile (lowest paid) Male: 86 Female: 94"

    Approximately: (3:1); (2:1); (1:1); (1:1)

    The only headline one can get from these is that there currently are more men employed in the 1st and 2nd quartiles than women. What use is a median and mean salary figure when you are comparing the above?

    What would happen if you were to overlay their age...and then chat this over the past 20 years? Perhaps, this could lead onto a projection for the next 20 years...now that would be useful information.

    Otherwise, you may as well compare people by their star-sign...and what a fascinating summary that would be! "Aquarius people have a 20.4% higher median and 24.2% higher mean salary than Gemini"...

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  • Corrections on above: "whooping", (5:1) not (3:1) and "chart"...

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