Under new rules designed to combat gender inequality in the workplace, Ryanair has been forced to disclose the gender pay gap for its UK-based workers. The law, which affects all companies that employ more than 250 British staff, compels businesses to report the statistics to the UK’s Government Equalities Office.
Shockingly, it’s been revealed that the pay gap between genders for Ryanair employees in the United Kingdom currently stands at 67% – believed to be the widest pay gap of any airline that has so far published such figures. Ryanair’s British-based workers currently make up about 10% of the airline’s total workforce and there’s currently no way of knowing whether the situation is any better (or worse) in other countries.
But the bad news for gender equality doesn’t end there – Only eight out of 554 pilots currently employed by Ryanair in the UK are female. For its part, the airline says the problem isn’t unique to Ryanair and that the whole aviation industry is grappling with the issue of gender equality.
“Like all airlines, our gender pay in the UK is materially affected by the relatively low numbers of female pilots in the aviation industry,” a spokesperson for the airline explained.
“In recent years, the number of female pilots applying to Ryanair has increased and we are committed to developing this welcome trend. It is a feature of the aviation industry that more males than females choose to enter the pilot profession.”
However, unlike other airlines in the UK – notably Brtish Airways and easyJet – the Irish-based low-cost airline doesn’t currently have any published programmes to dramatically increase female representation in the flight deck.
Last month, both British Airways and easyJet revealed the gender pay gap for their workers – coming in at 35% and 51.7% respectively.
In the past, Ryanair has faced criticism for selling a charity calendar which featured bikini-clad female cabin crew. After facing scrutiny over the matter for several years, the airline eventually stopped making the controversial calendar in 2014.
Portuguese-based cabin crew have recently taken part in three-days of strike action over what a union called a “lack of respect for the elementary rights of workers”. Workers groups across Europe are calling on Ryanair to recognise unions for cabin crew – in the same way the airline has recently done for pilots.