An Post closes gender pay gap to zero but men still receive higher bonuses

State-owned company plans campaign to recruit more women postal staff

An Post chief people officer Eleanor Nash (left) and chief executive David McRedmond with Work Equal founder and entrepreneur Sonya Lennon. Photograph: Mark Maxwell/Maxwells

An Post chief people officer Eleanor Nash (left) and chief executive David McRedmond with Work Equal founder and entrepreneur Sonya Lennon. Photograph: Mark Maxwell/Maxwells

 

An Post has become the first major company in the State to report a zero gender pay gap, with the organisation eliminating the difference between male and female average hourly rates of pay from 3.7 per cent to 0 per cent over the past two years.

For the first time women who work for An Post earn marginally higher hourly pay than male employees, although the gap in the size of bonuses has widened further in favour of men.

The postal services company said that since finding in 2019 that its female employees earned 3.7 per cent less on average than male employees by this metric, it has actively sought to provide promotional opportunities and encourage women to apply for them.

It now has a negative mean or average gender pay gap of 0.16 per cent – an effective zero per cent gap.

The pay gap is the difference in the average hourly wage of men and women in the workforce, and is based on the pay of every employee working for An Post from July 1st, 2020, to June 30th, 2021.

Although it closed its mean gap An Post’s median gender pay gap has widened from 1.3 per cent to 3.75 per cent over the past two years, however. This means that a woman at the midpoint of all female hourly wages, when they are lined up, is paid 3.75 per cent less than a man at the midpoint of all male hourly wages in the organisation.

Bonuses paid to men, relative to those paid to women, have also increased. The mean gap in bonus pay in An Post stands at 11.2 per cent, up from 8.45 per cent in 2019, while the median bonus gap has widened from 4.2 per cent to 22 per cent.

Its gender pay gap report said the increase was “as a result of frontline managers who are predominantly male being recognised for their outstanding work during the pandemic”.

The company also attributed the bonus gap to a legacy issue of women employees not transferring to its performance-related pay scheme. “An Post will be focusing on reducing these gaps,” it said.

Workforce breakdown

A quarter of An Post’s overall workforce are women. Although the management board is split evenly by gender, two-thirds of its senior management group are men, while 87 per cent of its postal operatives and 71 per cent of its process area managers are male.

An Post said 45 per cent of the workers on its graduate programme are women, while the number of female process area managers it employs has substantially increased since 2019. A campaign to recruit more female postal staff will be launched shortly.

The organisation, led by chief executive David McRedmond, is on Wednesday holding an event titled Zero Pay Gap – Women Leaders for the Future, at which it will also launch the An Post Green Institute for developing leadership and management skills.

“This is fantastic result and shows what can be done when you make big moves to promote equal opportunities,” Mr McRedmond said.

He described An Post’s trade unions as “a positive force in ensuring men and women are paid equally” that has “supported our drive to have more women in senior management”.

Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State for Transport, said An Post’s achievement was “impressive” and a “milestone”, while Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, in congratulating the organisation, urged others to follow its example as quickly as possible.

“The gender pay gap in society is unjustified and unfair, and needs to be closed in every workplace,” Mr Varadkar said.

Reporting legislation

It is expected that the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021, which was signed into law in July but has not yet been commenced, will be a catalyst for other larger companies to seek to minimise their gender pay gaps as they will become subject to mandatory reporting requirements.

According to the latest Eurostat figures, the average gender pay gap in the State stood at 11.3 per cent in 2019, while in the EU it was 14.1 per cent.

Where there is a gender pay gap in favour of men it can point to the clustering of women in roles that are less valued – perhaps because they tend to be performed by women – as well as barriers to female promotion within an organisation.

The presence of a gender pay gap does not necessarily mean that women are not being paid the same as men for the same work. This is unequal pay, which has been illegal in the State since 1975.

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