Virgin Money boss Jayne-Anne Gadhia is a vocal supporter of women’s rights
The yawning pay gulf between men and women at Britain’s biggest businesses has been revealed for the first time in official figures.
Banks and other finance firms are among the worst offenders – and two of the biggest gaps are at firms run by women who have campaigned for more equality.
All companies with more than 250 staff must publish how much more men are paid than women under rules introduced last year.
Although the deadline for revealing results is not due until April, results from 500 businesses have already been made public.
Sam Smethers of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for equal pay, said: ‘All employers need to take a long hard look at their workplace culture.
‘Discrimination and sexual harassment can be hidden and more common than they think.’
The worst household name is EasyJet, where women earn 45.5 per cent less than men. It is 11th-worst of all the companies to reveal results so far.
Former chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, 56, is an outspoken supporter of equality. ‘I don’t experience sexism and if I did, I wouldn’t tolerate it for a minute,’ she has said.
McCall left in November to head ITV, and was replaced by Johan Lundgren, whose £740,000 basic salary is £35,000 higher than hers was. EasyJet has said staff doing the same jobs earn the same.
The gender gap is because most of its high-earning pilots are men. Virgin Money boss Jayne-Anne Gadhia is another vocal supporter of women’s rights – but her bank has one of the biggest gaps reported so far, at 38.4 per cent.
Gadhia, 56, has hit out at sexism in the industry and led a review into women in finance.
Other banks with large gaps include Clydesdale, at 36 per cent, which has since pledged to hike its minimum wage by 11 per cent to £17,000 to help low-paid women.
Fellow lenders Aldermore Group and Yorkshire Building Society also had large gaps, of 35.7 per cent and 28.6 per cent respectively.
PwC LLP, a division of the accountant, was high on the list with a gap of 34.4 per cent. A spokesman insisted this was just a small part of the business, with 2,000 staff. She said the true figure for the organisation is 14.2 per cent.
Former easyJet boss Dame Carolyn McCall, 56, is also an outspoken supporter of equality
Divisions of energy firms RWE, which owns Npower, and SSE, feature highly, as well as part of developer Land Securities.
Construction is the worst sector for pay gaps, with an average 24.6 per cent, followed by financial services, at 24 per cent, and information and communication, at 17.7 per cent.
All the firms say they pay staff the same if they do the same job.
The gaps are because most top staff on high salaries are men.