Tesco and Aldi have become the first grocery retailers in the UK to reveal details of their gender pay gap.
This comes ahead of a government deadline in April, which requires all companies in the country with over 250 employees to publish data on how much their male and female staff members earn.
The gender pay gap measures the difference between men and women's earnings across a business by expressing women's pay as a percentage of men's pay.
The current UK average is 17.4%, with a median figure of 18.4%, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Discount retailer Aldi has reported a mean gender pay gap of 11.5%, with a median of 4.8%, placing it below the national average.
In spite of this better than average disparity, the retailer says that it still has more to do to address the matter. It has identified that the majority of its gap is as a result of having more men than women in store management positions.
Across all pay grades, Aldi has a near 50-50 balance between male and female employees, except the upper quartile, which is 70% male.
"Aldi is one of the leading employers in the retail sector and is proud to offer fair, equitable pay to all colleagues," said James Hutcheson, managing director of Aldi UK.
"This is something we have always done - and in fact our entire salary structure is designed with fairness in mind."
Closing The Gap
Meanwhile, Tesco revealed last week that its median gender pay gap across more than 225,000 staff members for the 12 months to April 2017 stood at 8.7%, with an average of 12%.
Although this is below the national figures, it places Tesco behind Aldi in terms of gender equality.
"While we’re pleased that our gender pay gap of 8.7% is significantly below the UK median, we want to close the gap altogether," said Matt Davies, CEO of Tesco UK and Ireland.
"We believe that long-term, sustainable change will take time. But we also believe it is the right thing for our business and essential for our long-term future."
Tesco says that its analysis shows the current gap is mainly driven by two factors: career and lifestyle choices, and a lower proportion of women than men in senior roles.
In an effort to help close the gap further, Tesco says that it has improved parental leave, enhanced coaching for future female leaders, created an Inclusion Advisory Panel, and signed up to the 30% Club.
The retailer exceeded its target to have 25% of its board be female by 2017, and is now aiming to have a minimum of 30% female representation in senior leadership roles by 2020.
Earlier this month it was reported that Tesco could be facing a £4 billion claim over a pay disparity between employees at its stores and distribution centres.
Law firm Leigh Day is arguing that employees working in the male-dominated distribution centres are paid as much as £3 per hour more than those in the largely female-staffed stores, which could lead to a difference of around £5,000 a year.
The firm described it as “potentially the largest-ever equal-pay challenge in UK history.”
Tesco is currently the largest supermarket in the UK, with 27.8% market share, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.