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 ensure equal pay for male and female colleagues throughout the business, and a key part of this is our commitment to create a more gender-balanced workforce where we employ and retain more women, so they can thrive at all levels across our business. Offering the same opportunities to train, develop and thrive in every role is part of our key strategy and therefore we welcome the opportunity to publish for the fifth 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 of identifying if there are any gaps in pay between men and women by using a set of calculations prescribed by legislation. These figures provide an overview of the gender balance within our business by comparing the mean and median earnings for both sexes, regardless of role or seniority at Sofology. This information will help to identify room for improvement within the organisation in terms of gender representation 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.

For 2022 reporting submission Sofology had a number of roles which have fixed rates of pay, for example; Sales Consultants, Customer Service colleagues and Service Technicians. Men and women were paid equally for these roles and the only difference in earnings would be down to performance, productivity or location. More specialist / senior roles do have a variance of salary which is based solely on an individual’s expertise and qualifications regardless of gender.

Monitoring our Gender Pay data, and more importantly understanding the factors that contribute to the differences, has and will continue to support us in narrowing our Gender Pay Gap. This will also inform our longer term strategy to help Sofology become recognised as an environment where women and men are equal, supported and driven to succeed regardless of gender.

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

Our Gender Pay Gap figures are based on a relevant workforce of 888 colleagues with a wide variety of skills primarily across Retail and Support Office. Our overall colleague ratio is 53% male / 47% female which is an improvement from our 2022 submission which was 63% male / 37% female. Our future people strategy is committed to achieving a 51% male and 49% female split by June 2024.

Our mean Gender Pay Gap is 5.3% and our median Gender Pay Gap is 2.9% compared to 1.2% and 1.3% retrospectively in 2021.

Summary of the swing from the previous year:

Last year we had to remove over 40% of the headcount from the data due to those colleagues being on reduced pay during the relevant pay period. The legislation around gender pay gap reporting only accounts for those on full pay. Due to Covid-19 we had fluctuations of pay and temporary Store closures which resulted in a large percentage of colleagues being affected by varying pay amounts. Females saw a bigger impact with 47% being removed against 38% of men.

This year we have had to remove c15% of the headcount due to colleagues being on reduced pay during the relevant pay period with 58% being female and 42% being male. This year's mean result is a truer representation of Sofology’s pay gap and is an improvement on 2020 outcome.

When reviewing both base salary and bonus payments for the relevant date range it is pertinent to know that Sofology’s Coronavirus Absence Scheme resulted in fluctuations of pay that has affected the overall mean and median pay. Sofology paid 80% of a colleagues base pay if they were absent due to COVID-19, this included temporary Store closures from April 2019. Due to this scheme, it has resulted in a large percentage of colleagues being affected by varying pay amounts. Retail colleagues were mostly impacted by the scheme of which are generally higher earning males. The date range resulted in over 40% of the headcount being removed from the gender pay gap calculation for the reasoning of reduced pay during the relevant pay period. Females saw a bigger impact with 47% being removed against 38% of men.

As well as the technicalities addressed above, Sofology have also made some positive steps in addressing our gender pay gap / female representation such as:

  • We have seen the introduction of more female leaders by our internal management development program resulting in our female managers within Retail with the population increasing from 8% in 2019 to 42.6% for Store Managers and 52% for Deputy Store Managers. Support Office leaders have also increased from 35.4% in 2019 to 52.7%.

  • Our Wellbeing agenda at Sofology is another area of our strategy to support more females joining the business. Campaigns focused around family health were a key of our 2022 initiatives focusing on the support for both male and female health and wellness. Additionally, in 2022 we introduced fertility, pregnancy and baby loss support through our external partner Peppy.

  • In 2022 we increased our maternity, paternity and shared parental pay for all eligible colleagues, this resulted in an extra 10 weeks pay at 90% of a colleagues average earnings. We strongly believe this enhances our offering to parents both within and wishing to join Sofology.

  • Our Inclusion strategy is dedicated to our people with the aim of informing, educating and engaging colleagues with topics surrounding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Regular internal campaigns continue to drive this agenda and also supports our external messaging around Sofology being a fair and diverse employer.

  • At Sofology we are committed to maintaining a healthy part time mix and continuing to challenge ourselves to ensure our offering to current and new colleagues demonstrates flexible and agile options. Hybrid working within our Support Office allows us to be flexible on where colleagues can perform their roles, again supporting our attraction to more females in the business.

  • We have communicated our Group People strategy for 2022 / 2023 to our leaders. This shares the Group vision in respect of inclusion and diversity at Sofology. 

Our values are the fabric of our business and we are in the process of launching our new and improved values that are more relevant to Sofology. One of our values will strongly incorporate our diversity and inclusion message.

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 2022's Gender Pay Gap Report here.

View 2021's Gender Pay Gap Report here.