Under UK law, it is now compulsory for companies with 250+ employees to publish figures around their gender pay gap. Those with under 250 employees can publish their internal numbers but are not legally required to. The deadline for reporting these numbers each year is 31st March for public sector organisations and 5th April for businesses and charities. As such several major music companies in the UK have just published their latest numbers.

MBW has gathered together the pay gap figures for the UK arms of all three majors as well as PRS for Music and the UK office of Spotify. It found that the pay gap across the majors averages out at 29.6% (Sony is the lowest with 20.9%, Warner is the highest with 38.7% and Universal is in the middle with 29.1%). This is a drop from the average of 33.8% across all three in the previous reporting year. There is a breakdown of the different earring quartiles and bonus structures and it will be news to no one that males dominate at the upper ends of the majors.

Things start to even out in the lower payment quartiles while across all companies analysed the male:female employee ratio is starting to move towards parity (although all companies all still employing more men than women).

There are a number of ways to dissect these numbers – especially as focusing in on the different pay quartiles will tell a slightly different story each time. In short, music companies are still dominated by male executives; but lower down the organisations, while things are not perfect, they are certainly more encouraging. How those in the bottom tiers of the organisations work their way up through the companies and, over time, change the gender structure at the top level to become more equal is obviously the long game here. But the fact these numbers have to be made public will mean that hiring, promotions and other HR activities will be increasingly under the microscope and companies will be judged on how well they are performing here on an annual basis.

Structural changes at large organisations cannot happen overnight but new legal measures like this mean those not implementing changes – in terms of who they hire and who they promote – will be closely monitored and held to account if they are failing to make the grade.

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