Gender Pay Reporting

In this section

We are the largest independent retailer operating in the East of England. We provide Food stores and specialist services, such as Funerals, Security, Travel Agents, Petrol Stations and Stonemasonry to our communities across the east of England.  With a significant property investment portfolio and other businesses, such as events and conferencing facilities, we are a diverse and modern business.

As a co-operative business we’re run differently to other big organisations, as we are owned by our members; they have a say in how we are run, rather than investors.  As with any commercial organisation, our financial performance is important, but we also place huge importance on how we do business. We care about how we support the local communities we operate in, how we work with local suppliers and being a responsible employer.

Our Gender Pay Gap reporting shows that our median gap is historically quite small, reflecting our pay practices, and reduced further this year.  However, our key focus continues to be reducing the mean pay difference between men and women. This difference reflects a higher proportion of male employees in our most senior and highest paid roles.  Secondly, roles which tend to attract the highest level of premium payments (for call-out, unsocial hours etc) have an under representation of women.

We are realistic that it will take a series of long-term actions to realise real change, but we are committed to improving our Gender Pay Gap and attracting and progressing people from diverse backgrounds throughout our Society and our Forward Plan to achieve this is detailed in this Gender Pay report. This forward plan is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and contains a range of actions that includes a new Fair and Inclusive Place to Work Policy and reviewing our approach to recruitment.

I confirm the information and data reported is accurate as at the snapshot date of 5 April 2021.

Beverley Perkins

Chair – Remuneration & Search Committee
East of England Co-operative Society Ltd

Our Colleagues

The East of England Co-op employed 4,134 colleagues (some holding more than one role with us) as at the reporting date of 5 April 2021, across a diverse range of business and roles across the east of England.  For the purpose of the Gender Pay Gap Regulations, 3,326 of those colleagues were deemed to be relevant colleagues as at the snapshot date of 5 April 2021.

Across all of our colleagues:

  • 67% of all colleagues are female
  • 58% of our managers are female
  • 11 of our 16 Board members are female

Our Approach to Pay and Benefits

We believe in a fair and ethical approach to pay, including that men and women are paid equally for performing equivalent jobs within our organisation.

  • Colleagues under the age of 23 are paid our full ‘adult’ pay rate rather than exercising the right to pay the lower rates permitted under national minimum wage regulations.
  • Hourly-paid colleagues in retail are immediately paid at the full pay rate for the role, rather than at a reduced ‘starter rate’.
  • The hourly rate of our highest paid colleague remains 16.5 times that of our lowest paid colleague. This is within the maximum ratio of 1:20 recommended by The Work Foundation.
  • We provide sick, holiday, pension contributions and family leave benefits which exceed statutory requirements. We also provide life assurance, colleague discount and access to voluntary benefits, including a Cycle to Work scheme and interest-free rental deposit salary advances to help colleagues secure a rental property.

What is Gender Pay Gap Reporting?

Employers with 250 or more employees are required to publish information showing different calculations of any pay gap between their male and female colleagues.  This shows the overall difference in the average pay for all men and women across our Co-op.  It doesn’t compare what men and women are paid for doing the same job; and the majority of our roles attract a fixed rate of pay, regardless of the gender of the person performing that role.

Women’s Hourly Rate 

The following figures have been calculated using Society data as at 5 April 2021:          

 Mean  Median
 19.63%  2.14%
Lower  Lower

The mean is calculated by adding up all the data separately for the men and women and dividing by the number of men and women respectively.  Our mean difference is the result of having more men in the most senior and higher paying roles within the Society.

The median compares the hourly rate of the middle male role to the middle female role.  Our median gap would be 0% if based on basic pay only. The difference of 2.14% is the result of other pay items captured by Gender Pay Regulations, including stand-by and call-out payments which are more prevalent in roles with a high proportion of male colleagues such as Funeral, Security and IT Operations.

Pay Quartile Women Men
A - Lowest Pay to First Quartile 66.8% 33.2%
B - First Quartile to Second Quartile 75.4% 24.6%
C - Second Quartile to Third Quartile 73.4% 26.6%
D - Third Quartile to Highest Pay 49.1% 50.9%

We have sorted our colleagues in order from the highest to the lower paid and then split them into 4 groups of equal numbers. Whilst the gender pay split is overall quite balanced and reflective of the Society’s colleague population; there is an imbalance in most senior roles (of our top 100 earners, 34 are female), which is reflected in the highest pay quartile data.

Note : We do not operate any bonus or performance related pay remuneration schemes which is why we do not report any data on gender pay bonus gaps.

What have we done to close our Gender Pay Gap?

  • Family Leave: Following the introduction of our improved family leave terms in 2020, we have rolled out an online tool kit to help line managers support colleagues before, during and after their return from family leave.
  • Recruitment: We continue to review our job adverts - being aware of using gender neutral language, not over-stating criteria for roles and where we advertise.
  • Colleague Progression: We continue to monitor and track the gender balance of internal promotions in the Society – reported at an Executive and at an individual business level.  In the 12 months to the 5 April 2021, 68% of promotions were female reflecting our overall gender profile.  Subsequent to this years’ reporting period the two most recent appointments to the Senior Management team were female improving gender representation at this level.
  • We have reviewed our ways of working based on our experiences and learnings of the previous 18 months and developed new agile working policy that will create more flexible working culture for several our roles.  This will enable colleague to balance their working and other commitments whilst providing a more flexible operating model to support our business.
  • Pay Reviews: We strictly govern any ‘out of cycle’ pay increases to ensure fairness and consistency.

Our Forward Plan

  • We are in the process of launching a new Society-wide strategy which will also link to 6 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including Gender Equality. One of our key tactics to support our new strategy will be to create a more diverse and inclusive Society.
  • Ahead of the above we have established an Inclusion and Diversity Steering Group to influence and shape the Society’s Strategy in this area, with representatives from across our business including our Trade Union, USDAW.  An Inclusion and Diversity Action Plan has been developed and included input from PwC, our internal auditors, following a review commissioned with them.  The scope of this Steering Group and Action plan will be to promote a broader Inclusion and Diversity remit including gender diversity.
  • The above will include a range of actions including:
    • A new Inclusion & Diversity questionnaire to improve the understanding of the diversity of our colleagues;
    • A new commitment to inclusion and diversity;
    • A new Fair and Inclusive Place to Work Policy, committed to creating an environment where all our colleagues, regardless of their individual differences, feel included and that they belong;
    • Increasing the promotion and profile of flexible working;
    • Raising general awareness and understanding of what our vision of inclusion and diversity is
  • We will be reviewing our approach to recruitment in light of our new strategy and values – commencing with a review of how we attract and select for our highest volume recruitment roles.  Attracting a diversity of applicants and ensuring our selection processes support that diversity will be a key part of that review.