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Gender pay gap: Hawkins\Brown reveals smallest disparity so far

Hawkinsbrown allstaff
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The 2017 AJ100 practice of the year, Hawkins\Brown has revealed its gender pay gap figures, which show the narrowest salary disparity of any of the architects to have reported so far 

According to new figures posted under the government’s mandatory reporting rules, the company pays women 2.6 per cent less per hour than men based on the median of its staff salaries – the standard way of comparing payroll between firms. The mean gap at the firm, 45 per cent of whose staff are women, is slightly wider at 9.6 per cent.

Other practices to have announced their figures include Allies and Morrison, whose gap is 10.5 per cent, PRP at 21 per cent and Pick Everard, which reported a 24.3 per cent median pay gap.

In terms of bonuses Hawkins\Brown revealed that extra payments for women were 1.7 per cent less (median figure). The data also shows that 52 per cent of its female staff received bonuses, compared with 57 per cent of men.

In a supporting statement lodged with the figures, Hawkins\Brown partner Hazel York said the practice could still do more to ’promote gender equality, particularly where it comes to supporting long-term career progression’.

She wrote: ’We appreciate that there are some broad and complex societal issues underlying this issue and that reducing our gender pay gap will take some time. However we are fully committed to achieving this and over a number of years we have been putting in place a range of policies and processes to foster equality and diversity within our practice.

’These include: enhanced maternity leave, paternity leave and paid shared parental leave; formal flexible working options and a more informal flexi-time arrangement; and a practice-wide mentoring scheme open to all our staff.’

York also confirmed the company had been working with an ‘external expert’ to help ’identify if any aspects of our workplace culture might be hindering equality and diversity, focusing primarily but not exclusively on gender.’

Under legislation enacted last year, businesses in England, Scotland or Wales employing more than 250 people must report their gender pay gap by 4 April 2018.

The pay gap is calculated on a ‘snapshot date’ of 5 April 2017, and is expressed as the percentage difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women.

Reporting both median and mean measurements can shed light on the root causes of the pay gap. The median figure is often taken as the more accurate measure, as the mean can be skewed by the distribution of pay among employees. A larger mean pay gap suggests that a company’s top salaried roles are occupied by more men than women. 

Under the new rules, businesses are also obliged to set out how men and women are paid at all levels by dividing their payroll into quartiles.  

At Hawkins\Brown nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of the very highest earners were men.

A growing number of other companies in the architectural sector have now published their gender pay gap figures.

Global big-hitter AECOM was among the first to reveal its data, confirming that it paid its female staff 21.9 per cent less per hour than its men.

Having a gender pay gap is not illegal, although the principle of equal pay has been enshrined in law since 1970. It is unlawful to pay people unequally because they are male or female.

However, a company that pays men and women of equal standing the same wage may still have a gender pay gap if its senior, well-paid roles are mostly occupied by men.

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