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Pay gaps at Norfolk’s biggest firms revealed

PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:35 21 February 2019

Kettle Foods has cut their gender pay inequality by nearly a fifth. Picture: Kettle Foods

Kettle Foods has cut their gender pay inequality by nearly a fifth. Picture: Kettle Foods

Kettle Foods

The gender pay gaps at some of the county’s largest firms are being revealed.

Companies from Aviva to Anglian Water have begun logging their pay data to the Government Equalities Office, ahead of the deadline next month.

However, unlike many national firms, Norfolk’s major employers have made a marked reduction in their pay gap, with 60pc so far reporting a reduction in the difference.

On top of this, 70pc of companies sit below the UK’s average pay difference of 8.35pc.

Aviva has said it will take time to turn their stats around. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAviva has said it will take time to turn their stats around. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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These figures have been collected using the median pay gap, which measures the difference in pay between the middle-ranking woman and the middle-ranking man, as opposed to an average which may weight the data in one extreme.

Kettle Foods is one of the companies which has massively reduced its median pay difference, as well as staying well below the national average.

The Norwich-based business has axed the median pay difference from the 5.2pc reported last year to 1.56pc in 2018.

Brenda Handley-Howorth, HR director at Kettle Foods, said: “We’re proud to have a diverse team in terms of gender, ethnicity and perspective and we believe this gives Kettle Foods a wonderfully rich experience and is the key to our success.

Unilever's inequality sees women paid more than men. Photo: Neil PerryUnilever's inequality sees women paid more than men. Photo: Neil Perry

“When Kettle Chips was first launched back in 1982 the ethos was fundamentally about quality potatoes sourced in the least harmful way to the environment. Today nothing has changed.”

The Kettle Foods staff is made up of 70pc male to 30pc female.

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The executive team is perfectly balanced with three men and three women.

Kettle Foods has significantly reduced its imbalance. Picture: ANTONY KELLYKettle Foods has significantly reduced its imbalance. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ms Handley-Howorth added that the figures are “evidence of our commitment to inclusive employment practices”.

“Continuing to attract a diverse workforce is critical for our future success,” Ms Handley-Howorth said.

Some companies have swung from one extreme to the other.

Businesses including Unilever and charity the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices have reported an inequality - but this time of women being paid more than men.

At Unilever, women are paid 3.2pc more than men, up on last year’s figure of women earning 1.3pc more.

Sebastian Munden, general manager of Unilever UK and Ireland, said: “We know that becoming truly diverse and providing equal opportunities at all career stages is the only way to build a sustainable business able to thrive.

“Of course there is always more work to be done and we remain absolutely committed to driving positive change.”

Taking longer to turn around

Some of the county’s largest employers are taking longer to turn their figures around.

Aviva’s median pay gap for 2018 stands at 27.8pc, higher than last year’s of 27.6pc.

The company also has a median gender bonus gap of 39.1pc, with its top quartile being made up of 68pc men.

But the company are making major changes to tackle this.

Caroline Prendergast, interim chief people officer, said: “We are far from satisfied with the status quo and not complacent, yet it may take a few years before we can realistically expect an improvement in the pace of change and a tangible shift in the data.”

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As such, the company has launched initiatives such as equal parental leave, a Women in Technology taskforce, and six ‘Aviva Balance’ groups addressing gender, race, sexual orientation, carers and employees from different generations.

The company is also reinforcing its commitment to future female leaders through sponsorship of the Female FTSE Board Report and The Diversity Project.

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