With women still only paid an average of 66p for every pound paid to men within Crossrail and women earning 72p for every £1 that men earn within HS2, both organisations have pledged to do more to restore the balance.
The latest figures published show that both Crossrail and HS2 have seen their gender pay gaps increase from 2017 to 2018. While bosses say they are committed to equality and inclusion, data shows that the female median hourly wage is 34.5% lower than men’s in Crossrail and 28% lower in HS2.
But more worryingly is the disparity when it comes to senior level jobs. Just 14% of women are employed in the top quarter of Crossrail jobs and that figure is only slightly better for HS2 with 21% of its highest paid jobs going to women.
When it comes to bonus pay, women earn 60p for every £1 that men earn with the median bonus pay 40.1% lower than their male colleagues at Crossrail. This is compared to HS2 where women earn 57p for every £1 that men earn in bonus pay - 43% lower.
Mandatory gender pay gap reporting for companies with over 250 employees was introduced in 2018 by the government. An employer which is listed in Schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 and has 250 or more employees on 31 March, must publish results by 30 March of the following year.
Proportion of women in each pay quarter within Crossrail
Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild in response has insisted that a “more gender-balanced workforce is critical to the future success of the infrastructure sector” and admits there is more that Crossrail Ltd and the wider industry can and must do to drive up gender diversity.
He believes a key part of efforts to reduce the pay gap in the sector will be by encouraging more women to consider careers in engineering and construction and to create more opportunities for women.
Commenting on results, Wild said: “It is very disappointing to report that a significant pay gap exists at Crossrail Ltd, more concerning is that the gap has increased. The progress made in reducing the gender pay gap at Crossrail Ltd during the lifespan of the project has not been good enough.”
Proportion of women in each pay quarter within HS2
Responding to the underrepresentation of women in its workforce, HS2 says that “historical over-representation of men in the rail and construction” has led to the ratio of men to women tilting towards a greater concentration of men at the executive level. But the organisation does point to innovative EDI programmes aimed at improving the diversity of its workforce and leadership.
A statement added: “HS2 Ltd is proactive in supporting all areas of equality, diversity and inclusion. We have enhanced equality, diversity and inclusion requirements on executive search firms conducting senior level recruitment. This has improved the representation of women at head of function and director level.”
HS2’s chair Allan Cook recently spoke about diversity within the organisation to MPs in March in his first public question and answer session in Westminster. On the issue, Cook said it “could be a lot better” when it came to women employed at senior level and that he is a “very strong supporter” of diversity and inclusion. He went on to say across all levels that 36% of people employed by HS2 were women and this was high when compared to the average in UK engineering.