Women earn same as men or more in 12pc of Irish businesses

The largest gender pay gaps reported were in law firms, consultancies and financial companies. Photo: Getty Images

Sarah Collins

Women earn the same as or more than men at around 12pc of Irish firms, data shows.

At the Irish arm of US-owned steel firm Galco, the latest firm to report under new gender pay legislation, women on average earn 8.5pc more per hour than men.

The figure is due to more women in senior administrative and management positions, Galco said in its 2022 gender pay gap report.

There are 22 women across Galco’s Irish-based business, making up 7.3pc of all staff.

Women earned significantly more than men, on average, at a handful of companies, including utility PrepayPower, a division of recruiter Cpl, the Public Appointments Service, Call of Duty maker EA Games, one arm of SuperValu owner Musgrave and Google’s Irish-based cloud business.

There was close to parity in gender pay at semi-state An Post, clothing retailer H&M, Avoca Handweavers, Irish tech unicorn Stripe, drinks firms Heineken and Britvic, as well as US tech giant Microsoft as of June this year.

The average gender pay gap in firms that have reported so far stands at between 11pc and 12pc, in favour of men.

The largest gaps are in law firms, consultancies, financial companies and some manufacturing, construction and tech businesses.

Financial firms paid men 20pc more than women, on average, in the year to June, with stockbrokers Davy and Goodbody reporting pay gaps of over 40pc.

In law firms Arthur Cox and Mason, Hayes & Curran – and in one arm of construction giant CRH – the gap was 50pc or more. At law firm Matheson it was 61pc. The figures for law firms included partners.

Around 660 large companies must report differences in average pay and bonuses by the end of this month, under new legislation.

Smaller companies will have to report from 2024.

The gender pay gap is different from pay discrimination – paying men and women differently for doing the same job – which is illegal.

The existence of a gender pay gap indicates a lack of gender representation at certain levels of the company.

For instance, Aer Lingus said its pay gap would be 10 times lower if the (predominantly male) pilot cohort was excluded, while law firm William Fry said it paid women slightly more, on average, excluding partners.

Including partners, which are self-employed and often own a stake in the business, sent William Fry’s average pay gap up to 32pc, in favour of men.

Ireland’s pay gap in 2019 was 11.3pc, according to the EU’s statistics agency, Eurostat. The EU average pay gap in 2020 was 13pc.

Other studies put the Irish gap at around 16pc, while Labour Party senator Marie Sherlock believes it could be as high as 22.2pc, once hours worked are taken into account, as more women tend to work part-time and take career breaks to have children or to look after family members.