Tesco has reported a gender pay gap of 8.7 per cent across its UK retail business after crunching the pay data of more than 225,000 members of staff.
It becomes the first of the big supermarkets to report the figures required by government ahead of an April deadline. All firms with more than 250 employees have to report information on their median and mean gender pay gaps as well as differences in bonuses.
Tesco reported a median gender pay gap – identifying the wage of the middle earner – of 8.7 per cent, and a mean gender pay gap, taking into account low and high earners within the organisation, of 12 per cent.
Its median bonus gap was 27 per cent and mean bonus gap came in at 42.6 per cent.
The supermarket said its analysis had found the gap was due to "career and lifestyle choices" with more male workers picking up shifts at times that offer premiums, such as nights and bank holidays. It also cited the fact that it had more male members of staff in senior positions.
"For the same role, regardless of gender, all our hourly paid colleagues are paid the same hourly rate and premium hourly rate," Tesco said in its gender pay gap report. "When we remove the premium payment from the calculation, then the gender pay gap reduces even more significantly to a median of just 2.7 per cent."
Tesco UK's chief executive Matt Davies said: "While we're pleased that our gender pay gap is significantly below the UK median, we want to close the gap altogether."
Regarding the comparative lack of women in senior roles, Davies said:
I’m pleased that we are making progress in this area and exceeded our own target of 25 per cent women on the board by the end of 2017.
But we know there is more to do when it comes to other leadership roles in our business. So earlier this year we signed up to the 30 per cent Club, which encourages businesses to achieve a minimum of 30 per cent female representation in senior leadership roles by 2020.
Earlier this month, it emerged that Tesco was facing an equal pay claim, with employees seeking £4bn from the supermarket.
Lawyers from Leigh Day argued that employees working in the predominantly male-dominated distribution centres were paid considerably more than the largely female-staffed stores.