Gender Pay Gap Reporting 2020

Introduction

At Sofology, we fully embrace the responsibility of providing a workplace that is fair, diverse and committed to treating each and every colleague equally. We are dedicated to ensuring equal pay for male and female colleagues throughout the business, as well as offering the same opportunities to train, develop and thrive in every role. We therefore welcome the opportunity to publish for the third year running our review of our Gender Pay Gap and our action plan to improve.

Understanding The Gender Pay Gap

The Gender Pay Gap is a method to identify if there are any gaps in pay between men and women by using a set of calculations prescribed by legislation. These figures give an overview of the gender balance within our business by comparing the average earnings for both sexes, regardless of role or seniority at Sofology. This information will help to identify any room for improvement within the organisation in terms of gender equality and equal opportunities being afforded to both sexes. Gender Pay Gap reporting will enable Sofology to fully review and act upon any gender pay differences across the organisation.

At Sofology we have a number of roles which have fixed rates of pay, for example; Sales Consultants, Sales Administrators, Customer Service Advisors, Delivery Bookings Advisors, Van Drivers, Co-Drivers, Warehouse Colleagues and Upholsterers. Men and women are paid equally for these roles and the only difference in earnings would be down to performance, productivity, location, or length of service. More specialist / senior roles do have a variance of salary which is based solely on an individual’s expertise and qualifications regardless of sex. All roles are benchmarked using an independent system.

Monitoring our Gender Pay data, and more importantly understanding the factors that contribute to the differences will help to begin narrowing our Gender Pay Gap and will inform our longer term strategy to help Sofology become recognised as an environment where women are equal, supported and driven to succeed.

Our Results - What is the Gender Pay Gap at Sofology?

Our Gender Pay Gap figures are based on a relevant workforce of 1140 colleagues with a wide variety of skills primarily across Retail, Operations and Support Office business areas. Our overall colleague ratio is a 64% male / 36% female which is an improvement from our 2017/2018 results which was 67% male / 33% female.

Our mean Gender Pay Gap is 5.3% and our median Gender Pay Gap is 4% compared to 11% and 5% retrospectively in 2018 / 2019. This improvement is a result of the following factors:

2017/2018:

  • There were four Company Directors at Sofology all of whom were male. This has significantly moved forwards with two out of the four Company Directors being female. Four members of our Senior Leadership Team are now female. We know there is more to do when it comes to Leadership roles in our business and we are dedicated to achieving a higher % female representation in Senior Leadership roles including Heads of Departments.
  • The remuneration within our IT department is the highest within our Support Office. Technical IT roles are highly paid and attract a higher % of male applicants. Sofology is dedicated to recruiting female talent into traditionally male dominated roles within the business to improve the male versus female ratio of colleagues across the whole organisation.
  • Within our Support Office the largest department by headcount is Customer Service. Customer Service roles are generally lower paid and the department has a 75% predominantly female workforce. Three salary increases have also taken place over the past three years taking our colleagues from £16,000 to £20,000 per annum.
  • The Direct Sales and Delivery Bookings Departments also have a predominantly female colleague base, due to its flexible working patterns. This department will see growth in headcount across 2020 which will continue to support the attraction and retention of female colleagues in the business.
  • Within Retail, the highest volume roles are Sales Consultants, of which there is a 60:40 split between male and female. This has increased from 2017 / 2018 where the split was 67:33. These roles have a much greater earning potential.
  • Our 2020 part time strategy is underway with the introduction of part time Retail Sales Consultants which will also support in the attraction of many more females within Retail.

2018/2019:

  • A campaign to introduce more female Retail Store Managers to the business has resulted in a 84:16 split between male and female managers in 2020. This compares to a split of 90:10 in 2019. We expect this to significantly improve prior to our next gender pay gap report and we have already set targets in place of 80:20 for December 2020 and 70:30 for December 2021.

Our Bonus Pay Gap is -12.2% (mean) and -69% (median)

Our analysis shows that our -12.2% mean and -69% median bonus pay gap is a result of women who earn a bonus within the business and they tend to earn a higher bonus than their male counterparts. This is driven by there being a majority of males in Warehouse roles receiving lower bonuses than their female counterparts in the Retail estate earning higher bonuses. The median male is a Deputy Store Manager with a female Sales Consultant earning higher bonus.

Our Commitments

Giving everyone access to new career opportunities at Sofology is an integral platform to encourage female internal progression. We have an internal vacancy process, allowing any Sofologist looking for that next step, the opportunity to be alerted when a suitable vacancy becomes available.

  • In 2017, we introduced the Next Generation programme which is designed to give our Sofolgists the opportunity to apply for in-house development and support to reach the next steps in their career path, by both male and female colleagues. Our strategy to increase our female Next Generation candidates now means ensuring we have a minimum 50% female representation on each intake.
  • Historically our Next Generation programme has been predominantly Retail focused, therefore during 2018/2019 we introduced a Support Office programme which has seen 63% female colleagues being successful in joining the course. 2020 will see the launch of our Operations Next Generation programme to further support the development of our colleagues in Operations and encourage our female talent to this area. Both of these internal development programmes will have a minimum 50% female representation on each intake.
  • All our apprenticeship programmes from January 2020 also have a minimum 50% female intake. This is particularly important as the areas targeted with the apprenticeship programmes are often areas of significant underrepresentation of female colleagues e.g. IT and Upholsterers. Our first IT Apprentice scheme has launched with a 50:50 gender split. We are also planning our second intake due to the success of the scheme.
  • We have also seen our first female driver join the Operations Team this year with plans to attract more females to the profession.
  • In 2019 we worked closely with Work 180 which is a Talent Forum that is an endorsed employer for women. This will continue to support us in the attraction of females to our business and we have utilised their services to build more diverse selection pools for Senior roles. We also held a one day recruitment development workshop for hiring Managers with a dedicated section on unconscious bias training.
  • We continued to revise our Career Tracker process based on feedback from our Colleague Engagement Survey, that our Sofologists wanted higher quality conversations around their progression in the organisation.
  • Operations continues to be a predominantly male environment with the Management teams in this area having a 100% male mix. The introduction of Shift Managers to the hierarchy will enable us to attract and recruit female managers within the Operations Department and this strategy is underway.
  • In 2020 our commitment to offer more flexible ways of working is a key opportunity for us to offer a more flexible working pattern that includes working from home or compressed hours. We believe this will support our strategy to attract more females to the business.
  • We have communicated our new bonus targets for 2019 / 2020 to those Directors and Heads of Departments. The new bonus targets include gender split targets for each area and is incorporated into each colleagues bonus scheme. This aims to increase females in senior positions and ensures our senior leaders are focused in this area.

Our values are the fabric of our business, and we will use them to guide our approach as we deliver our diversity and inclusion strategy. We will carry out further work to fully understand how we can address imbalances. Our commitments will ensure our business is not only stronger, but also truly represents our customers and the communities in which we work.

View last year's Gender Pay Gap Report here.

View 2018's Gender Pay Gap Report here.