The following statement was passed unanimously at a well-attended meeting at the FT. Journalists at the FT Group are increasingly concerned that the gender pay gap at the Financial Times is worsening and that senior managers are not taking this seriously.
Data provided by the managing editor show that the gender gap for most UK FT journalists is nearly 13 per cent, the widest it has been in a decade, and worse than the previous year.
So far, FT managers appear to have prioritised commercial initiatives over real steps towards pay parity. And targets for action – including increasing numbers of women in senior jobs and improving female pay averages – have become recast as “ambitions” . The company’s recently stated aim for equalising gender pay is 2022.
This is five years away and two years after the BBC’s much criticised deadline for pay parity.
As employees of a media group that holds other businesses to account over transparency and high standards, we, male and female journalists at the FT at every level, want the company to commit to a deadline for ending the gender pay gap as soon as possible and to provide detailed averages showing that the gap is closing for all, not just those in more senior roles. These should include reference to financial incentives and bonuses for senior and executive staff, including the CEO.
We are asking the FT Group to share details of mean and median gross annual earnings of men and women by job title (reporter, correspondent, senior correspondent, assistant editor, deputy editor and editor) and by age, following the example of the Wall Street Journal.
We also ask the management to release information on pay gaps on grounds of ethnicity, social background/education and disability in a similar fashion. Chapel reps will also organise an independent survey on pay.
The year 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Equal Pay Act and we believe that every company, and especially the Financial Times, ought to be ashamed if it enters that year with anything less than pay equality. As NUJ members, we would be prepared to support industrial action in pursuit of this goal should it be required.
After a recent leader in the paper argued that “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.
Steve Bird, NUJ rep at the FT Group, said: “Companies have had 47 years to fix the gender pay gap and have failed. The FT is not alone in falling short but we believe it should lead the way in bridging this historic gap. Male and female journalists are united in their anger over this and NUJ members will do whatever it takes to achieve genuine transparency and end the pay gap at every level.”
- The managing editor’s pay data are based on 405 staff with a UK contract. These do not include assistant and associate editors, who are predominantly higher-paid men. It is likely that the real gap is wider than 13 per cent.
- The 13 per cent pay gap was confirmed publicly by James Lamont, managing editor, in an email to staff on 22 March 2017 when he said: “The managing editor’s office is working alongside colleagues in HR and the FT Group board to better understand what influences the gender pay gap and seek interventions to close this, monitoring progress actively on a monthly basis. The gap widened last year 1 percentage point to 87 per cent. We intend to understand the reasons behind this and seek to address it.”
- Figures provided by HR show that the pay gap for FT Specialist titles – covering 80 journalists – was also 13 per cent in 2016.
- About 550 journalists are employed by the FT Group, including FT Editorial and FT Specialist. More than 50 per cent are NUJ members.