Dezeen Magazine

Foster + Partners reveals gender pay gap in staff salaries

Foster + Partners has revealed that it pays women 10.5 per cent less per hour than men, based on the median of its staff's salaries.

The gender pay gap of 10.5 per cent at the UK's largest architecture practice was calculated by identifying the middle earner – a statistic that is commonly used as a representation of a company's typical gender difference.

Calculating the mean average of salary figures reveals an even greater gender pay gap at the practice: 23.8 per cent.

The Norman Foster-led firm was obliged to reveal the figures, as all companies in the UK with over 250 employees are now required to annually make public their gender pay gaps.

The figures also showed that median bonuses received by women were 33 per cent lower than men, while the mean bonuses were 72 per cent lower.

Pay gap due to more men in senior positions

According to Foster + Partners, the pay gap is primarily due to the practice having more men in senior positions.

"Our pay gap is not an equal pay issue. Men and women are paid equally for doing equivalent jobs across the practice," said Foster + Partners, in a statement published alongside the figures.

"Our analysis of the gender pay gap shows that there are more men than women in the practice and we also have more men in senior higher-paid roles."

Foster + Partners pledges to promote gender diversity

Last year Dezeen revealed that women only occupy 10 per cent of the most senior positions at the world's largest architecture practices.

Foster + Partners has one woman among its 29 strong senior management team, which includes the executive chairman, senior executive partners and senior partners.

"It is evident that we have a pay gap. To close that gap we are encouraging more gender diversity at a senior level," said Matthew Streets, Foster + Partners managing partner.

"The practice understands that this is a complex issue and that it will take time to achieve the right balance. We are committed to closing the gender gap and ensuring diversity and inclusion at all levels," he continued.

Foster + Partners is one of the first major UK architecture practice to reveal its figures, with all architects employing over 250 people required to publish their gender pay gap figures by April.

Global architecture and engineering firm AECOM released its figures last week. The median pay for women at the company is 21.9 per cent lower than men, while the mean is 21.5 per cent lower.

Dezeen has launched an initiative calling on readers, architects, conferences and awards to move the needle and improve gender equality in architecture and design. Foster + Partners has been contacted to commit to moving the needle.