The UK’s four largest community pharmacy multiples currently do not collect ethnicity pay data for their pharmacist employees, with two of the high street chains telling The Pharmaceutical Journal that they do not believe there is an ethnicity pay gap within their respective organisations.
The responses follow The Pharmaceutical Journal’s
publication of results from its annual salary and satisfaction survey in September 2019, which suggested a statistically significant median pay gap of 15.0% between non-locum community pharmacists who identify as white and those belonging to a minority ethnic group (black, Asian or other ethnic minority). Across all pharmacy sectors the median ethnicity pay gap was 15.8%, an increase of 0.3 percentage points since 2018.
The Pharmaceutical Journal approached the multiples for comment in response to the survey’s findings and to determine what active measures the employers were taking to identify and tackle any pay gaps within their own organisations. Boots, Rowlands, LloydsPharmacy and Well Pharmacy confirmed they did not publish any ethnicity pay data.
Louise Walpole, head of reward, organisation design and engagement at Well Pharmacy, said that while the survey’s findings made for interesting reading, “we are not aware that we have any pay gap issues relating to ethnicity and do not currently report on it”.
“Our approach is not to have any bias in our pay,” she added.
A spokesperson for LloydsPharmacy commented: “We do not hold complete ethnicity data for our employees, so we are not able to perform analysis of any statistical significance. We do not believe that [an] ethnicity pay disparity is an issue among our pharmacist population.”
A spokesperson for Phoenix Group, which owns Rowlands, said data uncovered by The Pharmaceutical Journal, showed that “community pharmacy as a whole appears to have a notable ethnicity pay gap in relation to the pharmacist population”.
“We are continuing to review and further enhance our colleague demographic data and regularly discuss workforce metrics internally to identify potential areas of focus/for action,” she added.
When asked about active measures to identify a potential pay gap at Boots, a spokesperson replied: “We’re looking at ways for colleagues to provide us with this [ethnicity] data so we can better identify any potential pay gaps and take steps to address them.”
Reporting on ethnicity and pay is currently not mandatory in the UK. However, a government consultation, which concluded in January 2019, explored whether declaring ethnicity pay gap data should be made a legal requirement in line with gender pay gap reporting. Feedback from the consultation is still undergoing analysis.
While none of the multiples report on their ethnicity pay data, all four companies expressed their commitment to ensuring employee pay was fair and transparent with salaries set according to individual roles, skills and experience, as well as locality.