‘Difficult Conversations’ – Why The Music Industry Must Tackle The Gender Pay Gap ‘Head On’

UK Music’s Head of Diversity Felicity Oliver writes on the gender pay gap and how it relates to the UK music industry.

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05.04.2019: UK Music’s Head of Diversity Felicity Oliver writes on the gender pay gap and how it relates to the UK music industry.

This month was the deadline for companies with 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gaps. This is the second year that organisations have been required to publicly disclose these statistics after the Government made it compulsory in 2018.

Shining a light across industries has given us an insightful, if unsurprising, snapshot on the state-of-play for women. Last year it was revealed for the first time that the country’s biggest organisations paid men 78 per cent more than they paid women.

This year’s statistics go to show that change won’t happen quickly as a BBC analysis of this year’s figures found that across 45 per cent of firms the discrepancy in pay actually increased in favour of men.

Although reporting is in its early stages, and this year’s results do not indicate a huge change from last year in relation to the music industry, progress has been made on an individual level. Many firms have introduced workplace schemes that should bring about improvements. This is something that UK Music will continue to monitor and develop.

UK Music’s 2018 Diversity Survey results which measured gender and ethnicity across the music industry workforce, found there was an encouraging 6.3 percentage point increase among female workers aged 35 to 44 and a welcome 6 percentage point increase in females aged 45 to 64.

However, there remained fewer women overall in these age groups, highlighting an issue with the retention of females aged 35 and over. The lower number of females than males in senior posts is a key factor to consider when reflecting on the gender pay gap reporting.

I’m confident that the gender pay gap reporting will not only tackle disparities in pay but also help to elevate more women into senior leadership positions across the industry. Change is starting to take place already. It has opened up difficult conversations in the workplace for the first time and is going some way to create a more inclusive industry.

Flexible working and parental leave packages must reflect the needs of society while companies must take responsibility of their recruitment processes. UK Music has supported Labour MP Tracy Brabin’s ‘selfie leave’ campaign along with MPG Executive Board member Olga FitzRoy from the MPG. It’s also great to see mentoring schemes being established within industry to create an inclusive network of support.

Our report showed an encouraging increase in younger females entering the industry with a 10.7 percentage point increase. However, we must do all we can to ensure these women are equipped to rise up the career ladder to the very top.

Only when we have tackled the gender pay gap head on can we achieve genuine gender parity in our industry.

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