Eir pledges to further reduce gender pay gap

Communications company has pay gap of 11.2% while 80% of its employees are male

Communications company Eir said it would reduce further the gender pay gap it had identified among staff, making it a key priority for the company.

The pledge was part of the company’s first Gender Pay Gap Report, which found a gender pay gap of 11.2 per cent, almost 3 per cent below the national average.

Eir’s report identified a number of factors contributing to the gap, with a higher percentage of male employees holding specialised engineering roles with the company. The report noted these roles, which involve building and maintaining the physical and IT networks Eir depends on, have an average tenure of 30 years, contributing to the pay gap as the roles tend to have a higher salary.

Almost 60 per cent of female employees work in customer facing roles, which have a lower salary and typically less lengthy tenure.

The company has a predominantly male workforce, with 80 per cent of the staff compared to 20 per cent female. That is partly due to the legacy of Eir's predecessor, Bord Telecom Éireann, which was founded in 1983, and less interest in roles that involving working outside and often at height, compounded by a lack of gender balance in graduates from science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses.

However, Eir’s field team is led by a woman, and the company’s senior management team is split evenly in terms of gender. Some two-thirds of Eir’s commercial teams are also led by women.

Leadership in the company is split with male employees making up 65 per cent, but an increase in female new hires has risen from 30 per cent in 2016, to 37 per cent in 2020. Eir also said recently insourced functions have seen a 60/40 split in favour of female employees .

“As Eir’s first female CEO I am very proud that our company is led by a management team made up equally of women and men. This is a management team which values diversity and understands that an inclusive organisation, which really values differing viewpoints and skillsets, delivers real and tangible business benefits,” said Carolan Lennon, chief executive of Eir.

“We are publishing this, our first gender pay gap report, to demonstrate how important we feel this issue is and to make a public commitment of our firm intention to reduce this gap. We continue to embed actions that are aimed at increasing the gender balance and culture of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and by extension reducing our gender pay gap.”

Among the measures designed to address diversity in its workforce are an apprentice programme designed by the company to help build a more diverse pipeline of talent and attract more women into high tech roles. However, the report noted that only 5 per cent of those on the apprenticeship programme were female, with the majority male.

The company has also committed to continuing gender-neutral recruitment practices, in an attempt to remove bias from the system, and said it will strive to improve family friendly working arrangements, which already include maternity leave beyond statutory requirements, paternity leave, and flexible working.