Pharmacy multiple Boots UK has eliminated its median hourly pay gap between men and women, according to its latest gender pay gap report.
In its report for the 2022/2023 financial year, published in April 2023, the UK’s largest pharmacy chain said that “women earn £1 for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly pay”, meaning that their median hourly pay is 0% lower than men’s.
This is compared with a median hourly pay gap of 2.7% in favour of men during the 2021/2022 financial year.
The report was submitted to the government in line with regulations set out in the Equality Act 2010, which require companies with 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gap data by 4 April each year.
Commenting on the report, Seb James, managing director at Boots UK, said the multiple has “made some great progress, reporting a 0% gap on median pay, down 2.7% on last year, and significantly better than the national average”.
“Our mean pay gap is 18.2%, which is broadly consistent with last year; however, we recognise that there is always more to be done and will continue to inspire and support all of our team members to reach their full potential.”
According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, the national median gender pay gap for full-time pharmacists was 9% in 2022, an increase from 5.2% in 2021. Median, rather than mean, pay gaps are more commonly used as a measure because of the potential impact on the mean pay gap of a small number of very highly paid staff.
Boots UK, which confirmed that the report covers all of its pharmacists and pharmacy staff, added in a statement that it introduced several new initiatives to support women at the company in the past financial year, including offering discounted childcare and covering the prescription costs for those able and wanting to take hormone replacement therapy.
LloydsPharmacy also reduced its median hourly pay gap from 14.7% in 2021/2022 to 9.9% in 2022/2023 in favour of men. The multiple reported an 11-percentage-point increase in 2021/2022 on its median hourly pay gap compared with 2020/2021.
A spokesperson for Superdrug said the multiple was “pleased to report that our mean and median pay gap numbers continue to reduce year on year and our median continues to be well below the UK average”.
“Our improving position demonstrates that our focus on succession planning, data and balanced shortlists is paying off. In the last year, 78% of all internal promotions were women, including several new leadership moves as part of our executive board reshuffle, which bolstered female board presence,” they said.
The spokesperson added that, in the past year, 77% of internal training hours were invested in women and 69% of spaces on internal development and leadership development programmes were filled by women.
“Also in the last year, 86% of apprentices were female, which is significantly above the national average of 51%. We are extremely proud to give employment, training and development to women at all levels of the business, from our entry level roles to our most senior,” they continued.
Phoenix Healthcare, which owns Rowlands Pharmacy branches, reported a median hourly pay gap of 2% in favour of women in 2022/2023.
LloydsPharmacy, Phoenix Healthcare and Day Lewis did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s policy on health inequalities was drawn up in January 2023 following a presentation by Michael Marmot, director of the Institute for Health Equity, at the RPS annual conference in November 2022. The presentation highlighted the stark health inequalities across Britain.
While community pharmacies are most frequently located in areas of high deprivation, people living in these areas do not access the full range of services that are available. To mitigate this, the policy calls on pharmacies to not only think about the services it provides but also how it provides them by considering three actions:
- Deepening understanding of health inequalities
- This means developing an insight into the demographics of the population served by pharmacies using population health statistics and by engaging with patients directly through local community or faith groups.
- Understanding and improving pharmacy culture
- This calls on the whole pharmacy team to create a welcoming culture for all patients, empowering them to take an active role in their own care, and improving communication skills within the team and with patients.
- Improving structural barriers
- This calls for improving accessibility of patient information resources and incorporating health inequalities into pharmacy training and education to tackle wider barriers to care.