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Written by Tina Phillips Head of People & Talent
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05 Apr 2019  |  Culture

Addressing Gender Pay Gap At Paddle

7 minute read

The gender pay gap results are in – 78% of UK firms pay men more than women. At Paddle, we believe that success is intrinsically linked to diversity and for this reason today we publish our own numbers, hoping to encourage more London tech startups to publish their gender pay gap data and begin the conversation.

The gender pay gap results are in – 78% of UK firms pay men more than women, with the hourly median gender pay gap in favor of men coming in at 9.6%. Despite the slight improvement on last year’s numbers (9.7%), the sad reality remains that the UK has one of the highest gender pay gaps in Europe and little has been done to address this.

At Paddle, we believe that success is intrinsically linked to diversity - of thought, ideas, beliefs, backgrounds, genders, and cultures. This year, for the first time, we also wanted to share our gender pay analysis because it follows our values of doing the right thing, being open and transparent and focusing on impact.

Our team now accounts to 137 people, below the 250 person threshold to make this disclosure mandatory but we believe it’s important that all employers publish data on their gender pay gap, even when they don’t have to. It matters to our industry as a whole and is important within our business itself.

Transparency on this issue is just the start of the journey. We know that without it we can’t talk about what we all need to do to improve, and what exactly we plan to do to improve it.

By publishing our numbers today, we hope to encourage more London tech startups to publish their gender pay gap data and begin a conversation that urgently needs to happen.

Our gender pay gap findings

At the time of analysis, Paddle employees identify as 31% women and 69% men.

As a tech company, a sizable part of our company sits within Product and Engineering - where 82% identify as male. We’ve been working hard to address this imbalance, as well as focussing on our organization as a whole to achieve a better gender balance.

Across all departments, women earn 23.4% less per hour on average when considering the median hourly wage.

The median pay gap is calculated by comparing the difference in pay between the middle-ranking woman and middle-ranking man in the same companies.

Across Paddle, for every £1 earned by men, women are earning 77p. We’re working hard to address this, and looking closely at other organizations in our industry (many of whom are reporting much higher pay gaps).

When looking across all teams at Paddle, the majority have a pay gap below 10% and we have no instance where men are paid more than women for the same role.

The main reason for this 23% gap is that 85% of our engineering team identifies as male with salaries in the “upper middle” bracket. Although the gender pay gap in engineering only is 9.7%, this means that when we add all other employees into the mix the median pay gap jumps mechanically.

Women hold 19% of the top 25% paying jobs and 44% of the lowest paid roles at Paddle.

The majority of our highest paid roles are Management, Engineering or Product positions. Looking at our proportion of women in each pay quartile, we clearly don’t have enough women in mid-manager and senior roles. We’re focussing hard on progression, pay and reward, but it’s clear there’s more work to be done.

How we’re solving the gender pay gap

Minimizing our gender pay gap is important. This is the first year we’ve reported this, and we’re focussed on the opportunities we have to address this imbalance.

Here are our initiatives to improve diversity and gender pay. This is a priority for us and should be one for our industry as a whole.

Already in place

Family-friendly policies

We introduced equal parental leave in Autumn 2018. Fully paid leave is now available for all new parents regardless of gender for three months. We’re firm believers in supporting all parents regardless of gender and families of all shapes and sizes.

We know that the gender pay gap dramatically widens after women have children but we believe this could be reduced if men and women were to share childcare more equally.

We want to encourage all Paddle parents to take up shared parental leave, so we’re providing future parents with guidance and personal support for the scheme.

Flexible working and unlimited holiday

We’re proud to offer flexible working and unlimited holiday for all Paddle employees, regardless of role or seniority. The ability for our team to work remotely when needed means we make returning to work for new parents easier, provide long-term family support and support anyone who prefers to work non-standard hours.

With unlimited holiday, our team can take the time off they need, when they need to, without worrying about saving days for emergencies or keeping holiday days in reserve for unforeseen events.

Uptake of both of these policies has been great, and although both are sometimes constrained (necessarily) by the needs of our business, we’ve seen a real positive impact on our culture and our inclusivity.

We hope that having such policies in place will help us further with attracting and retaining senior female talent, which will, in turn, have a positive effect on the median pay gap bottom line.

Ready to roll out

Formalizing career pathways, manager and unconscious bias training

With an equal split of men and women in the more junior roles at Paddle, but poor gender diversity at a senior level, we know we need to be better at offering promotion and career pathways. We’ll be rolling out manager training as a programme this year.

We’ll also be rolling out unconscious bias training. Understanding our biases and how to support all individuals in their progression is key to tackling the gender pay gap, as research consistently shows that men are 25% more likely than women to get a pay rise.

Linked to this training will be career pathways for all employees, aligned to their goals, skills, and aspirations, with clear promotion points, salary reviews, and internal hiring processes.

Improving diversity in our hiring process

We’ve been pushing for 50:50 shortlists when it comes to external recruiters for a while now, and particularly when it comes to recruitment for technical and senior technical roles. While we haven’t been as successful as we’d like, we’re now committed to only work with recruiters who can provide the shortlist as required.

Thinking about implementing

Improving awareness of diversity internally

It is crucial to ensure our equality goals are clear and realistic, and that progress towards them can be tracked. “Improve gender equality” or “Reduce organization’s gender pay gap” can be overarching goals, but they are not specific and they, therefore, risk being unsuccessful.

One way of increasing the likelihood that goals will be reached is by setting specific, time-bound targets: what change will is achieved, and by when? At Paddle, there’s still work to be done in this respect.

Leadership under-representation

We’re thinking about rolling out a programme to identify under-represented groups throughout the business and coach them about their goals. This programme ensures we elevate all voices, give opportunities to any under-represented group and allow the next generation of company leaders to be from as broad a background as possible.

Offering mentoring and sponsorship

Although quite similar roles, typically, mentors provide guidance and advice to their mentee while sponsors support the advancement and visibility of the person they are sponsoring.

Evidence suggests that mentoring programmes work very well for some women but not for others - it is not clear based on existing evidence whether sponsorships are more effective than mentoring, or how best to run mentoring and sponsorship programmes so, they are useful.

Offering networking programmes

Some evidence suggests that formal networking programmes where members meet and share information and career advice can be helpful for some women but not others. More work is needed to understand the effects of networking programmes, and whether they need to have particular features to be successful.

Final thoughts

We’re proud of the things we’ve improved but recognise we have some way to go to ensure that Paddle is a truly diverse and inclusive company.

We know that beyond the gender pay gap, there are other pay gaps which must be addressed, and we need to look at factors such as ethnicity, disability, age, socio-economic background, and class if we are to truly tackle the issue of equal pay in the future.

Tackling these inequalities across the board and having ongoing conversations about gender, age, ethnicity, disability, class and sexuality is the only way we can ensure we don’t lose sight of truly embracing diversity at Paddle.

Interested to join us on that journey? We’re hiring.

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