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Gender pay gap: PRP reveals salary disparity figures

PRP's Clapham Park masterplan
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One of the UK’s largest employers of architects, PRP, has released its gender pay gap – but says the ‘snapshot’ data does not reflect the firm’s true salary landscape 

According to new figures posted under the government’s mandatory reporting rules, the 250-strong company pays women 21 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 is 19 per cent.

Meanwhile the practice, 38 per cent of whose staff are women, announced that its bonuses for women were a third less (33.3 per cent). However 63 per cent of women were given extra bonus payments, compared with 58 per cent of men.

In a supporting statement lodged with the figures, PRP senior partner Neil Griffiths said: ‘[When] hourly pay and bonus of females and males in equivalent roles are assessed side-by-side, they are comparable. We do not have distinct pay bands, which places greater emphasis on remuneration based on skills and experience and therefore comparisons have to be made against male and female employees. Within these groups, annual salary increases are evenly applied and based on role level.’

He added: ‘While the construction industry is renowned for having a predominantly male population and this inevitably extends to the architectural discipline, PRP will carry on championing equality in our workplace.

‘Since the snapshot date, the number of female associates at our London studio has increased … [We] have a strong female presence within our leadership team. This is something we are very proud of and bears testament to our approach to equality at PRP.’

The practice clarified that in April 2017 the payroll included a number of male employees who ‘had not yet become LLP members’ but were later made partners.

Under the government’s reporting rules, LLP members’ earnings – which are classed as drawings rather than salaries – do not factor into the results.

The practice has provided adjusted pay gap figures for its staff at 18.8 per cent (median) and just 11.6 per cent (mean).

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.  

Only a handful of other companies in the architectural sector have so far 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.

So far Pick Everard has the widest disparity – a 24.3 per cent median pay gap; and Allies and Morrison and Fosters have the narrowest, both at 10.5 per cent.

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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Readers' comments (1)

  • Wages, pay, salary, drawings/median, mean, average -- the confusion over language reflects the confusion that surrounds the issue. One is about the percentage of all staff who are men/women, the other is whether people of similar (can it be identical?) skill doing the same job and with the same level of experience are rewarded equally. 'Pay gap' always needs a long-winded explanation because it tries to combine the issues.

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