Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Financial Times Staff Call Emergency Meeting Over Gender Pay Gap

  • Pay disparity at newspaper at its widest in decade: union rep
  • Media peers including BBC also facing criticism over pay

Staff at Nikkei Inc.’s Financial Times newspaper will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss its gender pay gap, following similar revelations of disparities at the British Broadcasting Corp.

“There is a increasing sense among journalists here that FT managers have not been taking this matter seriously enough,” Steve Bird, head of the FT’s National Union of Journalists committee, said in an email to about 600 employees on Thursday. “The gender pay gap in FT Editorial is nearly 13 percent -- the biggest shortfall in a decade -- and the company’s ‘ambition’ to reach equality by 2022 is worse than the BBC’s present target of 2020.”

The meeting comes after disclosure of pay disparities between male and female talent at the BBC prompted a backlash and an open letter from at least 40 women calling for action. A lack of transparency over the salaries of editor Lionel Barber and Chief Executive Officer John Ridding at the FT does not inspire confidence, Bird said in the email.

“We see this as a very important forum in which to discuss practical steps we can take to address pay anomalies at every level of the organization,” Bird said. “After a recent leader in the FT stated: ‘women are right to be angry at the pay gap’, it’s time for the Financial Times to put its money where its mouth is.”

Bloomberg LP, the owner of Bloomberg News, competes with Nikkei and the Financial Times in providing financial news and information.

Starting next year, companies with more than 250 employees in the U.K. will have to report how much they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff. The gender pay gap for full-time employees was 9.4 percent in April 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Read more: Why the gender wage gap is in the spotlight -- a Q&A explainer

“We take the matter of gender pay seriously and welcome the government’s move to make all large U.K. companies report on the issue,” FT said in an emailed statement. “We have a 50/50 female-male split among our workforce and there are more women in senior roles across the newsroom and commercial teams than ever before. We have a long list of active initiatives in place to further that progress.”

FT said it will be reporting on pay “in due course, in line with the U.K. government timetable.” The company said it compares favorably with its industry peers.

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