Waterstones gender pay gap revealed amid row over wages

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Book retailer Waterstones has unveiled its gender pay gap, amid an ongoing row over wages paid to its shop staff.

The median gap, which measures the middle hourly pay rate, rose by 0.2 per cent to 4.7 per cent. Waterstones said this was due to a decline in the number of women in its highest-paying roles.

The retailer said its mean gender pay gap, which is a reflection of the average hourly rate of pay, had narrowed by 2.2 per cent to 11.7 per cent as of April 5 2018.

It comes after Waterstones was embroiled in a dispute over pay last month, when a petition called on managing director James Daunt to pay the Real Living Wage to staff on the shop floor.

As of this week, the petition had amassed 8,848 signatures and was supported by an open letter signed by over 2,400 published authors.

Mr Daunt defended the pay structure of the retailer, saying it was “simply not profitable enough” to increase wages across the board.

Gender pay gap data shows the percentage of women in the top quartile of pay decreased by 1.7 per cent compared to a year earlier. Men account for 54.9 per cent of top earners at the company.

Meanwhile, women occupy 67.6 per cent of roles in the lowest quartile. They also make up the majority of employees in both the lower and upper middle quartiles.

All firms employing 250 people or more are required to report the gap between the average earnings of men and women.

Other high street retailers have already submitted their reports. WH Smith said it had no gap on a median basis, but the mean gap was 20.2 per cent

Meanwhile The Works reported a 5.2 per cent median gap, equal to a year ago.