In April this year, new rules in the UK meant any company with more than 250 employees had to publish a report on its gender pay-gaps. The British arms of all three major labels, as well as Kobalt, PRS for Music, PPL and Live Nation were among the companies reporting their figures.
What we haven’t had so far are any wider reports from global music companies: not just on gender pay gaps, but on the diversity of their employees (as well as of their senior management specifically). We have seen these kinds of reports from big tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook, but music? Not so much.
Now we have one report to dig in to, from Spotify. “We are very pleased to tell the world that our Diversity Data Report is finally in a place where it makes sense for us to publish it,” explained the streaming service yesterday. “Like many other companies before us, this is not a ‘shout it from the rooftops’ event but rather a way for us to get real about our current status, what we’ve been working on to get there and where we’re headed with this data.”
So where is Spotify? As of June 2018, 38.7% of its staff identified as female, and less than 1% as non-binary. 28% of the company’s ‘C-suite’ executives identify as female; 33% of its board members; and 38.4% of its managers. 26.6% of Spotify’s R&D staff identify as female, meanwhile. But the report also covers age (14.1% of Spotify’s workforce is over 40) and ethnicity: in the US only for the latter – 50% of staff are white, 14.8% Asian, 6.1% black, 5.5% Hispanic and 2.7% mixed-race.
“Our grand plan for the future is to step up as a leader in this space,” claimed Spotify. “For now, we have some serious work to do specifically around increasing the share of senior female leaders and focus on female representation in our technology organisation, diversifying our racial landscape in the US, investing in the intersectional experiences of our employees, and ensuring our service is welcoming to all.”
There’s room for more information – pay gaps, for example, even if that’s a challenge on a global level. But it would be most encouraging if Spotify’s data nudges other music companies – for example major labels and publishers – to consider also publishing global figures to give a sense of where they’re at, and what they’re working towards. UK Music has done a good job of digging out some of this data on an industry-wide level for one country, but the more figures the better, on a worldwide basis.