Published: 12:13, 11 June 2019
| Updated: 14:44, 30 October 2019
In recent years, the difference between what men and women are paid has been brought to our attention.
By law, both sexes must get an equal salary for the same job.
But there is still a massive gender pay gap (GPG) in the average earnings of all men and women across companies in Kent.
Analysis of government data by KentOnline has revealed the 15 biggest GPGs in the county for companies with more than 250 employees.
Cabot Financial (Europe)
Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling
Gender pay gap (GPG): 58%
Cabot Financial (Europe) is a debt purchase company, which buys debt at a discount from people and businesses and then seeks to collect the outstanding payments.
The workforce has an almost equal gender balance, with 56% of employees being female.
Despite this, there is a mean GPG of 58% - the largest in Kent for businesses included in the government report.
This massive difference in pay is down to a much higher proportion of men in senior roles at the company and a higher proportion of women in junior roles.
In the firm's submission to the government, chief executive Ken Stannard said: "We recognise a concerted and sustained effort is required to drive an improved gender balance at the higher levels of the organisation, to strengthen the leadership pipeline and to support families and flexibility in order to retain female talent.
"Improving gender balance across our business and levels of seniority remains our priority. We are conscious there is still some way to go to close our GPG, however we are making progress with three recent female promotions to the Executive team and unconscious bias training being introduced.
"With the issue now firmly embraced as an integral part of our corporate culture, we are committed to reducing the gap over the long term."
HFC Prestige Products
Bradfield Road, Eureka Science Park, Ashford
HFC Prestige Products is part of Coty, a beauty company which develops and distributes fragrances, cosmetics and skin care.
Despite having a predominately female target audience, only 30% of the upper quartile is made up of women at HFC, compared to 75% of the lowest quartile.
The company has a mean GPG of 52.4%.
However, the pay gap for all five of Coty's UK legal entities together is much smaller, at 20.5%.
In the company's most recent GPG report, HR director for Coty UK and Ireland, Veronica Linares said: "We have a responsibility to play our part in closing the gap.
"We will be hosting a diversity and inclusion workshop to gain a better understanding on barriers to progression and gender issues, and will introduce unconscious bias training this year.
"More equal opportunities in our parental leave policies have been introduced, to benefit both male and female employees.
"We will continue to review and improve the support we give to all new parents and will also be undertaking a flexible working pilot to better suit the needs of all our employees."
Reliance House, Sun Pier, Chatham
OneSavings Bank is a specialist lender, focussing particularly on mortgages.
Men earn 45.5% more than women here.
The upper quartile is male-dominated, and women comprise 84% of the lowest quartile.
As part of the bank's submission to the government, group chief executive, Andy Golding said: "In our 2017 report, we detailed a number of long-term initiatives to reduce the gap.
"All of these initiatives have been introduced, including the requirement for at least one credible female candidate to have a face-to-face interview for all senior vacancies.
"Given these changes were only put in place at the start of 2018 and the report produced soon after,it won’t be until our 2019 report is published, when we can establish how these initiatives have helped to reduce our gap."
Leabrand - formally Cheema Services
New Marlborough House, Arnolde Close, Medway City Estate, Strood
Construction company, Leabrand is involved in civil and railway engineering projects and has clients in both the public and private sectors.
It was re-named since the latest GPG report was published.
Part of a male-dominated industry, only 1.6% of the company's highest quartile is female but also just 7.7% of the lowest quartile.
The overall GPG is 41.5%.
Leabrand has been approached for a comment.
Coty Services UK
Eureka Park, Ashford
Alongnside HFC Prestige Products mentioned earlier in this list, Coty Services UK is also part of Coty, the beauty company which develops and distributes fragrances, cosmetics and skin care.
It also has a large GPG, this time of 41.3%.
In the company's most recent report, Coty UK and Ireland HR director Veronica Linares said: "I am passionate about inclusion and equality in the workplace and will make it a central pillar of my strategy for all our employees in this important market."
United Living Group
Media House, Azalea Drive, Swanley
United Living Group is a building and planning company which also provides private rent housing.
Typical of the male-dominated construction industry, just 8% of the top quartile are women, contributing to a GPG of 41%.
Chief executive officer, Ian Burnett commented in the company's report, saying: "The construction sector has an industry-wide diversity problem and we are aware the closing of the gap will not be an overnight fix.
"We are rolling out flexible working pilots across the group and an early careers strategy which will see us engaging with more young people, encourgaing to consider a career in construction.
"We are committed to growing our own pipeline of females through the recruitment of apprentices and graduates.
"While the progress we have made in the past 12 months is not reflected in the 2018 figures, we are fully committed to continuing the good work we have started and with this begin to close our GPG and ensure we create a truly diverse team to make us a better business."
Heard Way, Eurolink Industrial Estate, Sittingbourne
One of the UK’s largest installers of boilers and heating systems, Swale Heating keeps more than 100,000 homes warm.
Earning £17.05 an hour on average, men are paid 38.5% more than women here, whose average wage is just £10.49.
In the company's submission to the government, chief financial officer, Andy Ellis said: "There are more women in management positions now than in 2017. This follows a trend which was initiated as a response to GPG data.
"We continue to take steps to ensure our pay policy reflects the value of the individual’s contributions and is independent of factors such as gender or other non-relevant considerations.
"Our recruitment efforts have focused on increasing the number of woman in field-based roles and managerial positions.
"Through our efforts, we aim to continue increasing equality within our workforce."
Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells
Cripps provides business, corporate and personal legal services, and have experts in commercial property, corporate transactions, will and estate disputes and family law.
The company pays men 38.5% more than women.
Unlike many other businesses on this list, Cripps' upper quartile is 50% men and women.
The gap is instead due to there being many more women in lower paid positions.
In the company's latest GPG report, written by senior partner, Clare Hyland and managing partner, Gavin Tyler, it says: "We are committed to inclusion and diversity and regard GPG reporting regulations as a helpful step in progressing societal and working norms.
"We have rigorous processes in place to review, benchmark and ensure we pay people fairly for the work they do.
"We have already implemented a number of initiatives to foster positive changes and have plans for others.
"These include alternative routes for career progression, flexible working opportunities and employee engagement surveys."
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
Darent Valley Hospital, Darenth Wood Road, Dartford
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is one of the largest hospital trusts in North Kent, with services at four sites.
The trust has a GPG of 38.5%, but says other NHS organisations will have similar results and there is work to be done on a national level.
HR business partner, Charlotte Bull commented in the report, saying: "We have already taken action to help close the gap, including supporting medical staff in part-time training roles, who are mainly female, and continuing to employ female consultants.
"Actions we will now take include encouraging female consultants to apply for clinical excellence awards, helping more women to be appointed as consultants and promote flexible working."
Rainham Mark Education Trust
Pump Lane, Rainham
Rainham Mark Education Trust is made up of Rainham Mark Grammar School as the lead sponsor, Twydall Primary and Riverside Primary.
Women occupy more than half of the highest paid jobs in the trust (52.4%), but also account for 95.2% of the lowest quartile.
All in all, the mean average difference in wage is 38%.
Chair of the trust board, Terry Whittaker, said: "The gender pay report is based on 252 employees of which 135 are support staff and 117 are teaching posts.
"Of our support staff, 94% are part time roles which traditionally attract more female employees looking for flexible roles with limited hours, but these positions are obviously available to both sexes.
"Two of our three head teachers are female and we have an equal balance of gender mix across our deputy heads.
"We follow nationally agreed pay scales and job evaluations, employ consultants to ensure equity in pay grading and we are committed to providing a fair working environment, actively ensuring there are equal opportunities for all staff.
"It would be an injustice to portray the trust as gender biased, in fact it would be inaccurate."
Motorline House, Shalloak Road, Broad Oak, Canterbury
Driveline is part of the car dealership, Motorline Group.
Men earn 38% more than women who work at this business, with a massive 94% of the upper quartile being men.
In the company's latest GPG report, it says: "The motor trade has historically been male-dominated and this continues to be the case.
"The reason for the gap is largely attributed to the lack of interest from females wishing to join our industry.
"However, we understand the success of our business relies upon the performance of our employees and we are fully committed to creating a diverse workforce."
To do this, Driveline plan to promote the industry in schools, identify future female senior leaders for development and trial more flexible working patterns.
Towergate Underwriting Group
Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone
Towergate Underwriting, part of Geo Underwriting Services, is one of the UK's leading providers of specialist insurance products.
With just 17.4% of the upper quartile being woman and 67% of the lowest quartile, the GPG works out as 37.1%.
Towergate's most recent GPG report outlines action taken in 2017.
It says: "The flexible working policy has been applied to all new and existing roles, maternity pay has been increased to100% of salary in some segments, 22 employees have participated in two courses - women in leadership programme and equal talent coaching, and work has been done to remove gender information from the candidate selection process."
Targets for the coming year include reviewing all HR policies to ensure they are family and flexible working compatible, allocating 15% of the learning and development budget to developing female talent, and introducing unconscious bias training for all hiring managers.
Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe
Holiday Extras is a website where you can buy add-ons to flights such as parking, airport lounges and travel insurance.
Despite the company being 60% female, men get paid 36.6% more due to the upper quartile being 71% men and the lowest quartile 28%.
The company's action plan to close the GPG includes reviewing all recruitment and internal promotions to ensure they are based solely on performance without gender bias.
It has also made hours more flexible and allows remote working.
In the report, group people director, Kelly Wakeman, said: "We have created a women’s network which is giving us an insight into how we can better support people andwe have implemented a number of initiatives such as mentoring and additional maternity support."
St Augustine's Business Park, Whitstable
ISG is a global construction services company, and ISG Retail is one of four separate businesses within it.
It is a UK-wide retail construction and fit out business.
Men have 94.7% of the highest paid jobs and 55.3% of the lowest paid jobs here, which contributes to a GPG of 35.5%.
In the company's submission to the government, chief executive, Paul Cossell said: "The report provides a real wake-up call to every business leader to address gender imbalance.
"ISG Retail has significantly improved the gender balance on the 10-strong executive committee.
"The company also supports the Apprentice Diversity Champions Network, which encourages people from under-represented groups, including women, to apply.
"Although we’ve made some significant strides, we know there is more to do."
Barnsole Primary Trust
Barnsole Road, Gillingham
Barnsole Primary Trust is a multi-academy trust, with three schools in Medway - Barnsole Primary, Bligh Primary and Danecourt.
With only 21 male employees compared to 280 females, women comprise a high 90% of the upper quartile.
But they also hold 93% of the lowest quartile, which equates to a 35% wage gap.
The latest report published by the trust says the reason for men earning more is the nature of roles undertaken.
It says: "A high percentage of teaching assistants, cleaners and meal supervisors are female.
"The trust considers this is the case because they are generally part time, thereby providing opportunities attractive to females who also have family commitments.
"These females are often the secondary earner in the household. However, we recognise the need to address the GPG.
"We have a flexible working policy and give equal opportunities for progression, although we do realise it is likely that when a female moves to a higher quartile, they are likely to be replaced by another female."
More by this authorRebecca Tuffin