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Gender pay gap: Zaha Hadid Architects announces 20% disparity

Zha office  archmospheres
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Female employees at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), the UK’s third-biggest architecture practice, earn 19.6 per cent less than men, according to its newly released gender pay gap figures

The figure is calculated from the median hourly pay rate of the firm’s staff salaries – the standard way of comparing payroll between firms.

The mean difference was slightly higher at 20.9 per cent – equating to women earning 80p for every £1 earned by men. The median bonus pay gap was 33 per cent.

ZHA stated that 40 per cent of its 310-strong UK workforce are women, and currently 35 per cent of its senior management are women —although in April 2017, when the pay gap was calculated, this figure stood at 25 per cent. In its official gender pay gap reporting, the practice revealed that its highest earners were men, who made up 78 per cent of the top quartile of employees.

A statement by chief executive Mouzhan Majidi said: ‘Men and women in equivalent roles at ZHA are paid equally. We are committed to an inclusive working environment of equal opportunity that is gender aware and recognises the important contributions of every individual member of our team.

‘We will always champion equal opportunities for all, irrespective of gender, race or background. We strongly believe in a wholly collaborative, knowledge-based approach to our work and are an industry leader with almost 30 per cent BAME percentage of our UK team.’ 

ZHA was founded in 1979 and Hadid died on 31 March 2016. A statement by the practice reads: ‘This pay gap exists because a higher proportion of our longest-serving team members who grew the practice with Zaha Hadid over the past 30 years are male and have continued to lead the company since her passing in 2016. We therefore currently have a smaller proportion of women than men in higher paid senior positions.’

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 report uses a snapshot of data from 5 April 2017.

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.

Median pay gaps revealed so far include NPS’s 31 per cent, Stride Treglown’s 28.7 per cent, Aecom’s 21.9 per cent and Pick Everard’s 24.3 per cent.

Meanwhile Hawkins\Brown had a median pay gap of just 2.6 per cent, and the Architectural Association’s median female staff salary was equal to its median male salary.

Last month the AJ reported that Zaha Hadid Holdings’ headcount had fallen from 379 in 2016 to 348 last year.

Over the financial year 2016-2017, the company’s income slipped only marginally from £46.5 million to £46.3 million, with its operating profit rising from £4.3 million to £5 million.

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

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Bruce Buckland

    Why do any of these figures matter? Mean/median average hourly pay does not in any way demonstrate inequality in the workplace. Correlation is not causation.
    It is grossly irresponsible of the AJ to be presenting these figures as some kind of equality ranking system.

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