Sodexo makes pledge to equalise gender pay variance

March 06, 2015

Sodexo has announced its pledge to publish a detailed breakdown of pay variances and rectify discrepancies across its 35,000 UK and Irish employees. Sodexo, one of the largest employers in the UK and Ireland with over 35,000 people across over 2,000 client sites, will be the first company of its size and scope to report this level of detail.

Sodexo makes pledge to equalise gender pay variance

Under the pledge, Sodexo commits to:

  • Make public a breakdown of its pay gap audit, comparing the pay of groups of its employees who are completing equal work broken down by gender, ethnicity, disability and by working pattern (FTE/PTE) by 2016 where data is available;

  • Conduct a full review of the banding of all roles across the organisation to enable it to conduct an audit of all staff, the results of which will be announced in 2016;

  • Rectify any pay discrepancies, where appropriate, which are identified;

  • Work with clients, suppliers and its supply chain to drive further equality across the sector

The pledge builds on the positive work undertaken by Sodexo’s Diversity & Inclusion Council set up in 2008 to focus attention, drive progress and measure success in this area. In the UK and Ireland women make up 30 per cent of Sodexo’s senior management. As part of its work, Sodexo host a Women Work annual conference, currently in its fifth year, organised by the Sodexo Women Work employee network group, and is taking place in Macclesfield on 5 March. This years’ conference, is titled ‘Equality for Women is Progress for All’.

Debbie White, CEO, Sodexo UK and Ireland said: “Driving equality throughout business is not only the right thing to do; it also drives better business outcomes. Sodexo’s Equal Pay Pledge underlines our unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“In order to address gender inequality we think it is critical for businesses to be transparent about the scale of the gap that exists. I am proud that our company is one of the first of its size to take firm action to eradicate the gender wage gap and challenge other companies and organisations to follow suit.”

The pledge is launched alongside the announcement of the results of Sodexo’s Gender Balance Study, which gathered data from 52,000 Sodexo managers working in around 100 entities across its global footprint. The study has shown better performance across all the performance indicators measured, including employee engagement, brand image, consumer satisfaction, retention, organic growth and profits in parts of the business where there is gender balanced management (between 40-60 of managers are women). For example, over the past three consecutive years, parts of the business with gender-balanced management were 12 per cent more likely to record consistent organic growth; and 21 per cent more likely to show an increase in gross profit. 

Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, said:
“With the gender pay gap falling to its lowest ever level, I am delighted to hear that Sodexo has publicly committed to increase their pay transparency. It is vital that companies actively look at their gender pay gap, and publishing a breakdown of pay within the company is a great step towards this.

“It is imperative that companies value the experience and knowledge that diversity brings, and I look forward to seeing the benefits publishing these details bring to both the company and its employees.”

Simone Roche, director for Women 1st, a campaign run by skills development charity People 1st to increase the number of women in senior roles, said: “Gender balance at senior levels is still a big challenge for hospitality businesses – our research shows that despite the fact that 57% of the workforce is female, only 6% of board-level directors are women.

“Addressing issues like equal pay is vital in helping to change this, and it’s fantastic to see an influential company like Sodexo tackling this issue head-on. Bold steps like this help to improve the perception of hospitality as a career option for women and will ultimately benefit the industry as a whole."

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