Our group has been improving the comfort and wellbeing of our customers for more than 50 years through our ranges of high quality, handcrafted Feel Good Furniture.
Over our lifetime we have grown our reach and customer base, but what has never changed is our passion for enhancing lives. We are still family-owned and operated, we remain true to our heritage, and we are just as dedicated as ever to providing an exceptional service for our customers and a supportive, inclusive and enjoyable working environment for our colleagues.
What Is Gender Pay Gap Reporting?
Since April 2018 all organisations with more than 250 employees have been required to report data intended to indicate any gender pay gap, i.e. differences in pay between male and female employees. This is in line with the government’s commitment to:
- Improve transparency of differences in pay between men and women; and
- Use this to address imbalance and eradicate gender inequality.
The information in this report relates to High Seat Limited (‘HSL’), the retail operation of our group, since this is the only group company with more than 250 colleagues. HSL’s business spans showroom and home visits colleagues, customer services, home delivery operations and the group’s other central support services, hence encompasses a number of different labour markets.
The analysis and commentary in this report reflects actual data at the ‘2022 Snapshot Date’ of 5th April 2022, and covers the following six measures:
- The percentage difference in mean hourly pay between male and female employees for the twelve months ending on the 2022 Snapshot Date (the ‘Relevant Pay Period’).
- The percentage difference in median hourly pay between men and women during the Relevant Pay Period.
- The percentage difference in the mean bonus between men and women during the Relevant Pay Period.
- The percentage difference in the median bonus between men and women during the Relevant Pay Period.
- The percentage of men and women respectively who received a bonus during the Relevant Pay Period.
- The percentage of men and women in each hourly rate pay quartile, split evenly across the workforce, reported by lower, lower middle, upper middle, and upper bands.
We will publish our gender pay figures annually but, even more importantly, we will continue to seek further opportunities to increase diversity and inclusivity across the business.
HSL’s Gender Pay Summary
Overview of Approach
We collected our data as at 5th April 2022, at which date our workforce consisted of 191 women and 125 men.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, which impacted most significantly from 2020 onwards, our reporting years to 5th April 2020 and 5th April 2021 were heavily impacted by the existence of government furlough scheme. Because only colleagues receiving full pay at the snapshot date could be included under reporting guidelines and hence furloughed colleagues were required to be excluded, this is the first reporting period since April 2019 that we present meaningful gender pay gap data which is not distorted by these factors. Where comparisons are drawn, they have therefore been compared with 2019 data.
Review of Gender Pay Data
Our data show:
- a mean pay gap of 22.9%, which is an improvement in comparison with the 28.1% pay gap reported for 2019.
- A median pay gap of 5.8%, also an improvement in comparison with the 8.9% pay gap reported for 2019.
As we have highlighted in previous years, we consider the median pay gap to be the most meaningful measure of gender pay. Furthermore, the existence of a gender pay gap does not necessarily mean that there is unequal pay for equivalent roles and there are many reasons why organisations’ data might show a gender pay gap.
Although HSL has a large proportion of female colleagues in many areas of the business, this is particularly true within our showrooms and home visits operation, with contracts often structured on part time hours. This means that there is a larger headcount in this area of the business. As is the case in many other retailers, these roles can often, by their nature, attract relatively lower rates of pay. As at the 2022 Snapshot Date, 47% of HSL’s workforce (194 colleagues) worked as Comfort Specialists in our retail channel and 80% (156) of these were female.
Regardless of this, as an equal opportunity employer we are committed to continue to reduce our reported gap. In recognition of our continued focus, immediately after the 2022 Snapshot Date, HSL reintroduced a London premium to salaries of colleagues working in selected showrooms and, in addition, all retail Comfort Specialist rates of pay increased at a higher rate than both the increase in the National Living Wage and HSL’s general cost-of-living uplift for most other areas of the business. This will continue to reduce the gender pay gap going forward.
Women are often under-represented in senior roles where remuneration is higher, however HSL’s data shows that a majority of the top quartile for pay are women. In previous gender pay reports, HSL had only a 20% representation of women at board level adding to a gender pay gap which was largely concentrated within the upper pay quartile. At the 2022 Snapshot Date there was a 33% representation of women in the boardroom.
By 5th April 2023 this had improved further to 40%, including my appointment as Managing Director Designate: the first female head in HSL’s history.
HSL encourages flexible working across all levels and all roles, enabling colleagues to balance their career with their family and personal commitments. We believe this will continue to drive a positive impact on our reported gender pay gap by reducing the need for colleagues to take career breaks when starting a family or when they have primary childcare responsibilities. Excluding our Retail colleagues, where part-time working is already a significant feature, 15 out of 53 (28%) of female colleagues work flexibly.
Review of Bonus Pay Data
89.0% of women and 80.0% of men were paid a bonus in the Relevant Pay Period. The mean bonus gap was 66.4% (2019: 45.6%) in favour of men. However, the median bonus gap was 6.3% was in favour of women (2019: 22.8% in favour of men).
In the case of the mean measure, the bonus gap is impacted by the basis of calculation under gender pay reporting requirements, as it uses the actual bonus paid and does not adjust for the impact of part-time working. Since female colleagues at HSL are typically much more likely to be part-time workers, and bonuses are typically paid proportionally to salary, any true bonus pay gap is thus overstated.
HSL’s board is passionate about equality and diversity across our organisation and proud of the steps we continue to take, including my own recent appointment as Managing Director Designate
We recognise that women are heavily overrepresented in our lower paid functions which reveals itself in a number of gender pay measures at the 2022 Snapshot Date. However, since this date, we have taken further steps to address this through the disproportionate pay increases awarded in the later months of 2022 and again in early 2023. The impact of these will be seen in future gender pay gap reports.
We recognise our responsibility to address gender imbalance, and we commit to continue to focus on development opportunities across the business which allow all colleagues to fulfil their potential.
I confirm that the information within this report is accurate.
Venessa Hodgson, Managing Director Designate