Financial Times staff call emergency meeting over gender pay gap
London: Staff at Nikkei Inc.’s Financial Times newspaper will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss its gender pay gap, following similar revelations of disparities at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
“There is an increasing sense among journalists here that FT managers have not been taking this matter seriously enough,” Steve Bird, head of the FT’s National Union of Journalists committee, said in an email to about 600 employees on Thursday. “The gender pay gap in FT Editorial is nearly 13 percent—the biggest shortfall in a decade—and the company’s ‘ambition’ to reach equality by 2022 is worse than the BBC’s present target of 2020.”
The meeting comes after disclosure of pay disparities between male and female talent at the BBC prompted a backlash and an open letter from at least 40 women calling for action. A lack of transparency over the salaries of editor Lionel Barber and chief executive officer John Ridding at the FT does not inspire confidence, Bird said in the email.
“We see this as a very important forum in which to discuss practical steps we can take to address pay anomalies at every level of the organization,” Bird said. “After a recent leader in the FT stated: ‘women are right to be angry at the pay gap’, it’s time for the Financial Times to put its money where its mouth is.”
Starting next year, companies with more than 250 employees in the UK will have to report how much they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff. The gender pay gap for full-time employees was 9.4% in April 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.
“We take the matter of gender pay seriously and welcome the government’s move to make all large UK companies report on the issue,” FT said in an emailed statement. “We have a 50/50 female-male split among our workforce and there are more women in senior roles across the newsroom and commercial teams than ever before. We have a long list of active initiatives in place to further that progress.”
FT said it will be reporting on pay “in due course, in line with the U.K. government timetable.” The company said it compares favourably with its industry peers. Bloomberg