Gender Pay Gap Report 2019

Today we’re publishing Cancer Research UK’s gender pay gap.

There’s a government requirement for all companies with over 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap data.  We welcome this opportunity to be transparent about our gender pay gap and have included a full copy of the report on our website. The 2019 gender pay gap figures published in this report are calculated on pay on our snapshot date of 5 April 2019.

This year we’re pleased to announce that we’ve made some clear progress in reducing our gender pay gap with our mean gender pay gap decreasing to 15.8% in 2019 from 17.8% in 2018.  This is greater reduction than seen across the whole of the UK.[1]

We’ve seen a tangible shift in women in our two most senior roles: executive director and director. As well as external female hires in these roles, we’ve also internally promoted two high potential female heads of departments to directors. However, we must go further and will continue to make improvements in the next 12 months towards creating an inclusive workplace where all staff can achieve their full potential.

The gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay, which has been a legal requirement in the UK for over 50 years and involves men and women being paid the same for like/similar work. When they do the same job, men and women are paid equally at Cancer Research UK. If we had an equal number of men and women at all levels and in all types of roles at Cancer Research UK, there would be no pay gap.  The gender pay gap is the difference in average pay between all men and women regardless of the work they perform. 

Our median pay gap has increased from 21.3% last year to 23.3%.  The median pay gap is influenced by gender headcount and the distribution of men and women across the charity. The proportion of men and women at Cancer Research UK has remained broadly the same.  However, as part of our business strategy, we’re continuing to increase the number of shops and superstores. These roles in our shops and superstores, in line with the retail sector, tend to be some of the lowest paid roles and are predominantly female. In addition, we’ve a disproportionate number of men in technical roles which typically attract higher levels of pay.  We’ve already made progress towards reaching gender parity in senior technology positions and we will work towards this in all technology roles over the next three years to help address this issue.         

Creating a diverse working culture is hugely important to us at Cancer Research UK, and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is central to our People Strategy.  We are setting ourselves ambitious targets to ensure we continue to make improvements to our gender pay gap. This action plan includes:

  • Balanced senior leadership team: We’ve met our target of a minimum of 50% women in our two most senior roles, executive director and director. Six out of 11 of our executive board are now women. It’s important that we now maintain this balance, and our focus on this target will remain as strong as ever.
  • Addressing the gap in our technology roles: 

We’re maintaining our gender balance in technology roles. Over the past year we’ve slightly increased the number of women in our technology department to 39% and we’re delighted to have more than double the proportion of women than is typical across the UK’s technology sector. However, we will continue to strive for a 50/50 balance. Through greater focus on our recruitment and pay increases throughout the year, we have also nearly halved the gender pay gap within our technology department.

Other measures we are taking to address our gender pay gap include:

  • Nurturing female talent at senior levels: We’re continuing to offer support to high potential female employees at head of department level. Despite the female population at head level decreasing from 78% in 2018 to 74% in 2019, over the past year we’ve supported and promoted two female heads of department to progress to directors. 
  • Flexible Working: Our Future of Work programme has modernised the technology at Cancer Research UK and supported our drive for more agile ways of working.  Our head office move from Islington to Stratford in autumn 2019 has been a catalyst to drive our commitment to be able to offer flexible working for all our roles. Flexibility in working patterns and location is part of our overall strategy to build a more diverse workforce and inclusive working environment.

EDI remains a high priority for Cancer Research UK.  I believe that our staff are one of our greatest assets and we seek to be more diverse and inclusive by attracting the very best talent to help us beat cancer together.

Michelle Mitchell OBE
Chief Executive Officer
Cancer Research UK

[1] UK gender pay gap figures sourced from the Office of National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2019