Sodexo UK has voluntarily published its ethnicity pay gap data for 2020, making it the first company in the hospitality and FM industry to do so.

Sodexo has a long-standing commitment to fairness and equity and is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, and in 2019 publicly pledged, through Business in the Community’s Race to Work charter and through the INvolve/EMpower ethnicity pay gap mandate framework, to publish its ethnicity pay gap.

In July 2020 Sodexo joined a number of business leaders in signing an open letter spearheaded by Audeliss & INvolve and pledging to take action and report on its progress annually.

Sodexo recently published its 2020 pay gap report and for the first time has included its ethnicity pay gap data1 which shows Sodexo’s mean ethnicity pay gap is 5%2.

Read the 2020 Pay Gap report here

In the report Sodexo has gone further and included pay gap data for three different ethnic groups: Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnic backgrounds, as it recognises that publishing the combined pay data for these groups may hide disparities between the different groups.

The events of 2020 have encouraged Sodexo to do more and over the last year it has created a strategic taskforce made up of senior leaders from Black and other ethnic backgrounds to lead on company-wide change programmes, one of which has been the launch of its Be Heard series of listening groups. Developed specifically for Black colleagues to share their lived experiences of working at Sodexo, the first series has resulted in action plans developed for each of its business segments.

With regards to gender, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Sodexo’s business and requirement from government to exclude furloughed colleagues receiving less than their regular full pay from the data3 has resulted in a slight increase in Sodexo’s 2020 mean gender pay gap from 14.12% in 2019 to 14.36% in 2020.

Sodexo has an established gender balance strategy and throughout the pandemic maintained its strong focus on gender balance. It was one of the first organisations to publish its gender pay gap data in 2016, ahead of government legislation introduced the following year requiring companies with over 250 employees to do just this.

Sodexo will use its latest gender and ethnicity pay data to focus its strategy on where and how these gaps need to be reduced. The annual publication of its gender and ethnicity pay gap findings will become standard practice for Sodexo.

Sean Haley, region chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: 

We feel strongly that the first steps towards achieving our diversity and inclusion goals are transparency and holding ourselves publicly accountable.

There is a lot of work to do to improve parity in both gender and ethnicity, but only with this level of clarity and the impetus to have more open conversations, can we put measures in place to move our organisation in the right direction and to do better by our colleagues and the communities in which we operate.

Its action plan for the UK & Ireland includes:

  • Establish targets to increase ethnicity representation in senior leadership positions
  • Achieve 43% (currently 37%) representation of women in senior leadership by 2025
  • Reduce mean gender pay gap across all legal entities combined to 10% or less by 2025
  • Continue to monitor pay practices
  • Create more sponsorship and development programmes for females and unrepresented ethnic groups
  • Undertake a diagnostic review into attraction and progression strategies
  • Conduct an employee census to increase our ethnicity data, and improve the quality of the data we hold

Suki Sandhu OBE, Founder and CEO, INvolve – The Inclusion People adds:

It’s hugely encouraging to see Sodexo publishing their ethnicity pay gap figures. Businesses need to function as agents of change by paving the way for inclusivity, and policies and practices which entrench inclusion must be implemented across all levels of an organisation. Examining and reporting on the ethnicity pay gap is an essential step in this process and allows businesses who choose to report to better understand the challenges, cement sustainable long-term goals and take responsibility for driving change.

Tea Colaianni, WiHTL Founder and Chair concludes:

More companies than ever before are collecting data on ethnicity and calculating their ethnicity pay gap across the hospitality, travel and leisure industry. Disclosing the data is an important sign of leaders being committed to transparency and accountability. Even more crucial is taking action on what the data tells you. Sodexo needs to be congratulated on being one of the first companies to disclose their ethnicity pay gap and drive change in the ethnic diversity of their workforce.



1 Ethnicity pay gap data is based on the 75% of its workforce who have shared their ethnicity information

2 The difference in average hourly pay between all White and all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees from data taken on 5 April 2020)

3 In 2020 the gap increased by 0.24%, if this group had been included Sodexo’s overall mean pay gap would have reduced by 1.73%.


More information:

Sodexo’s gender and ethnicity pay gaps have both been calculated using the methodology as required legislatively for publishing gender pay gaps.

Sodexo’s employees aren’t required to share their ethnicity, so its findings are only based on those who have voluntarily provided that information, which is 75% of its workforce.

Mean calculations: 
The mean gender pay gap is the difference in the average hourly pay for women compared to men, within a company.

The mean ethnicity pay gap is the difference between the average hourly earnings of employees in different ethnic groups.

Median calculations:
The median represents the middle point of a population. If you lined up all the women in a company and all the men, the median pay gap is the difference between the hourly pay rate for the middle woman compared to the middle-man

The median ethnicity pay gap is the difference between the midpoints in the ranges of hourly earnings of employees in different ethnic groups. It takes all salaries in the sample, lines them up in order from lowest to highest, and uses the middle salary.

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