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New DiR Report reveals positive progress in closing the gender pay gap

A new report indicates the retail sector is improving and responding to industry gender pay gap and diversity challenges. In partnership with PwC, Diversity in Retail… View Article


New DiR Report reveals positive progress in closing the gender pay gap

A new report indicates the retail sector is improving and responding to industry gender pay gap and diversity challenges.

In partnership with PwC, Diversity in Retail (DiR) has published the ‘DiR Gender Pay Gap in Retail Report – 20/2021 Edition – Published 2022’ which highlights the progress made towards closing the gender pay gap in the Retail sector despite the turbulence brought about by the pandemic.

According to a new report exploring the gender pay gap within the retail sector, progress towards closing the gap has been made, with falls reported in both the mean and median pay gap percentages for those companies who reported in 2018/19 (the last ‘normal’ reporting year before the pandemic) and 2020/21.

As reported by PwC, in 2018/19 the mean pay gap in retail was 13.1% and this year it’s 11.8%. Relative to other sectors, retail has a low pay gap and, despite a volatile couple of years, the report found it has improved.

Following the announcement of the six month delay of the gender pay gap disclosure deadline, the number of retail companies who reported for 2020/21 by 5 October was nearly 75% of the number that had reported in 2018/19, compared to nearly 80% in the wider market.

DiR have stated that some caution however could be taken in interpreting the statistics as, due to their large, stable workforces, there is a tendency for retail organisations to report more consistently compared to other industries. Such large workforces also mean a significant shift in employee numbers is required in the retail sector for the pay gap to move.

Generally speaking, retail movements this year have mirrored those in the wider market but the retail sector saw a higher proportion of companies report a pay gap reduction between -15% and -10% which contributed to the greater reduction in the pay gap seen in the sector when compared to the wider market this year.

“It is reassuring to see the gender pay gap in the retail sector continue to decrease, especially given it is a sector with lower pay gaps than the rest of the market. However, it is critical for companies to continue making progress and sharing narrative around reducing their gender pay gap, especially given the disproportionate impact on women of the pandemic, which saw female workers lose jobs more frequently and being more likely to take on additional childcare responsibilities.” said Jason Buwanabala, Inclusion and Diversity Consulting Senior Manager, PwC.

Tea Colaianni, Founder & Chair, Diversity in Retail shared,“The Diversity in Retail team analysed a multitude of gender pay gap reports from across the sector. Unfortunately not all retailers had published a narrative around their actions and their work in diversity and inclusion. While UK legislation does not currently mandate organisations to produce action plans to address gender pay gap disparities, it is inspiring to see the breadth and depth of the actions put in place by many retailers across the country who did share this. It’s clear that the retail industry as a whole recognises how important a diverse workplace is for business to both grow and attract talent.”

The report highlights how retailers have responded to overcoming the gender pay gap with detailed action plans which address the disparity in numerous ways. Updating policies, fostering inclusive cultures, prioritising flexible working and focusing on talent attraction and development are some of the shared actions we have seen across the reports published.

The report also found that there are a growing number of organisations choosing to voluntarily calculate and disclose wider diversity metrics. The most common addition in the UK is the ethnicity pay gap.

Buwanabala, shared, “It is great to see many organisations being proactive with diversity reporting beyond gender. A recent 2020 paper by PwC found that in the UK the number of companies who have voluntarily disclosed their ethnicity pay gap has moved from 3% in 2018 to 10% in 2020, with around half of organisations planning to disclose within the next 3 years.”

Tea Colaianni, Founder & Chair, Diversity in Retail, commented, “There is a common acknowledgement across the retail sector that having an inclusive workforce which reflects society is crucial to long-term success. I hope that the number of retailers who are also reporting on wider diversity statistics including the Ethnicity Pay Gap, which can help give a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by different groups will inspire others. At Diversity in Retail, we believe that having a broader approach to pay gap analysis will help drive more meaningful change in pay equality, and diversity and inclusion.”

Looking ahead, PwC predicts that the April 2022 gender pay gap deadline will go ahead as normal.

To download DiR’s Gender Pay Gap in Retail report visit –

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