Williams shamed in gender pay gap


At a time the all-female W Series is about to get underway, and the campaign group Dare To Be Different aims to increase the participation of women in all forms of motor racing, it has been revealed that British F1 teams are lagging some way behind rival industries in terms of the gender pay gap.

Indeed, according to a report in the Independent, of the six F1 teams based in the UK, the gulf in pay between men and women was higher than the national average at all but one team.

In total, the six British-based F1 teams employ 4,023 staff, with Racing Point, employing 382 of those. According to its latest accounts, in 2018 it paid its female employees an hourly wage 12.6% lower than that earned by men.

However, this is an improvement on the national average of 18% which the five other British-based F1 teams failed to meet, according to annual filings made under the Equality Act which came into force last year and which requires companies with more than 250 employees to disclose the pay gap between men and women.

Surprisingly, though led by a woman, Williams turns out to be the biggest culprit, women at the Grove outfit being paid an hourly wage 25% lower than their male colleagues.

"At the current rate of change, it will be many years before we, as a business, as an industry and as a society, reach a point of equality," said Claire Williams, whose workforce is 17.6% female, up from 13.3% in 2017.

"With this in mind, Williams will continue to promote more women in the workplace and support their progression within our business, as these steps are key to any sustainable and successful organisation."

With just 10.5% of Williams engineers being female, one of the biggest hurdles as the sport move forward is education, and this is not the work of a moment.

Filings from F1's parent company, which is owned by Liberty Media, state that: "The motorsport industry remains predominantly male, largely because of the lack of women choosing to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering."

This is borne out by the campaign group WISE whose research reveals that just 15% of engineering and technology graduates in Britain last year were women.

In its determination to improve the situation, the sort's educational programme, F1 in Schools, launched a marketing campaign targeting girls last year and, as a result, 40% of all participants in the competition were female

Since Liberty bought F1 in 2017 it has increased the sport's headcount and this includes a number of women who have been given key roles.

"Our legal team now comprises of 74% women and the financial department also recruited more women into senior roles with a 50/50 split, and 40% of those women being at a senior level," reveal filings for last year.

While women were paid 81p for every 1 that men earned, thereby giving them an hourly wage 18.8% lower than male staff, which is close to the national average, F1 admits there is still work to be done.

"Closing the gender pay gap remains a top priority for the F1 leadership team. Addressing this issue will take time but we are in no doubt that the steps we are taking to improve female representation in our business will have a positive impact in the long-term."

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Published: 24/04/2019
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