Yesterday was the deadline for publishing gender pay gap figures and many businesses left it to the last few days to report. The figures revealed a large gap in the airline industry with men earning more than women on average.

The government requires that businesses with more than 250 employees report on the difference in mean and median hourly pay for men and women, the proportion of women in each pay quartile and on bonus pay. It is important to note that these figures report on a business as a whole and do not indicate whether men and women receive different pay for doing the same job.

Ryanair reported the largest gap for airline operations based in the UK with a median hourly gap of 71.8% in favour of men. At the other end of the scale, British Airways reported that women’s median hourly rate is 10% lower than men’s.

Ryanair reported that only 3% of its top pay quartile are women and a similar story is being told at other airlines. For example, Jet2.com reported that only 7.2% of its top pay quartile is female and Flybe’s figure is 11.5%.

Much of this upper quartile is made up of pilots and the lack of women in this profession is largely responsible for the pay imbalance. At the other end of the spectrum, more than two-thirds of Ryanair cabin crew are women, also adding to the large gap.

Ryanair recognises that the pay gap is largely due to the roles that men and women have within the company: “Like all airlines, our gender pay in the UK is materially affected by the relatively low numbers of female pilots in the aviation industry. In recent years the number of female pilots applying to Ryanair has increased and we are committed to developing this welcome trend. It is a feature of the aviation industry that more males than females choose to enter the pilot profession.”

Some airlines already have schemes in place to tackle the problem, such as easyJet’s Amy Johnson initiative. This scheme’s current target is that 20% of the airline’s new entrant cadet pilots will be female by 2020.

It was reported earlier this year that new easyJet chief, Johan Lundgren, took a pay cut so that his salary matched that of his female predecessor, Carolyn McCall.

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