Gender Pay Gap Exposed in UK Art World
This week, official numbers were confirmed in the UK concerning the gender pay gap. Businesses with more than 250 employees were required to report their mean and median hourly rates for men and women. The results did not look good for the arts business.
The mean figures can be skewed by gender imbalances in the top positions of organizations, so the median figure is important to show the middle figures and provide a more balanced result. The average pay gap reported among all business shows women earning 9.7% less than men, with only 8% showing no pay gap. This widespread presence of a pay gap is even more disheartening considering that more women are employed than men in every pay level of arts organizations.
The Tate Art Gallery, with four locations across the UK, actually pays women slightly more than men, due to their three female directors and the fact that 70% of their top positions are held by women. The British Museum showed similar results.
Auction houses did not fare as well in comparison. Bonham’s, Christie’s, and Sotheby’s all show a gender pay gap in the double digits. Representatives from Bonham’s and Sotheby’s say that they are aware of these gaps and recognize the need to address them going into the future.
Public sector organizations like the British Council and Arts Council England showed narrower gaps, and there are many smaller commercial galleries or nonprofits with less than 250 employees who did not have to report their statistics.
Big music labels Sony, Universal, and Warner UK show drastically higher gaps. The mean figures show women making 22.7% less than men at Sony, 29.8% at Universal, and 49% at Warner. Regarding bonuses, female executives receive between 45% and 82% less than men.
Many of these numbers are due in part to many more men than women holding top positions in companies.