Women are paid less than men at 19 of the UK’s 20 best-funded tech companies, according to the government’s latest gender pay gap filings.
Companies like Cazoo, Checkout.com, Deliveroo and Revolut all have pay gaps wider than the national average in the UK — which sees women earn 90.6p for every £1 men earn. Monzo and Starling Bank didn’t perform much better.
Just one — Octopus Energy — pay its women more than men. It was also the only one to have more women in its highest pay quartile than men.
While a pay gap doesn’t necessarily mean a company pays women less for the same jobs as men, it does point to a lack of women in the highest-paid roles at startups.
The findings are just the latest in a long line of damning statistics about the lack of gender equality on the European tech scene. Sifted recently found that women make up just 13% of C-suite roles at startups and are paid less for most jobs of similar seniority. There’s also data suggesting UK startups had a worse gender pay gap in 2022 than the national average in 1992.
Few women at the top
One of the reasons so many tech companies’ pay gaps are so wide is the lack of women holding the highest-paid roles.
Women filled just one in twenty roles in the highest pay quartile at semiconductor manufacturer Graphcore, and one in ten of the best-paid roles at Improbable and Revolut.
Revolut also tells Sifted that of 26 partners at the company, just two are women. That leaves the neobank someway off its target of women making up 30% of its senior leadership by 2025. “We have a way to go to ensure that women are provided with fair and equitable opportunities here at Revolut,” a spokesperson tells Sifted.
Used car marketplace Cazoo saw the biggest reduction in the percentage of women holding the highest-paid positions at a company, dropping from 29% in 2022 to 21% in 2023, in what has been a tumultuous year for the company.
Are things getting better?
The gender pay gap at the UK’s biggest tech companies has improved since pay gap reporting began in 2018, but progress has stalled in recent years.
Female-led businesses suffered most during the pandemic, and last month Sifted reported that women were more affected by layoffs than men — making up 41.6% of job cuts while representing just a third of the European tech workforce.
Seven of the tech companies Sifted investigated reported a worse pay gap in 2023 than the previous year, and just one closed the gap by more than five percentage points.
But lawmakers are beginning to act, and last week the EU approved pay transparency rules. While EU countries have three years to implement them, it’s a landmark directive that effectively bans pay secrecy and makes it easier for employees to sue their employers over gender pay disputes.
While it’s a step in the right direction — much more needs to be done. According to a recent report from PwC, if the pay gap continues to reduce at the same rate it currently is, an 18-year-old woman entering the workforce today won’t see pay quality in her lifetime.