ppl continues to drive change with transparent approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion

The UK music licensing company PPL has today published its 2023 gender and ethnicity staffing data, which shows that it remains an industry forerunner in its approach to becoming a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive place to work. Notable trends in this year’s figures include:

  • Mean pay gaps – the average difference in pay – decreased for both gender and ethnicity between April 2022 and April 2023.
  • The company’s senior leadership team – Executive Directors and Heads of Department – is just above gender parity, at 51% female.
  • Mean gender pay gap decreased to 5.4% in favour of men, from 11.7% in 2022
  • Proportion of staff who declare as ethnicities other than white has increased by 3% since the April 2022 reporting period, now sitting at 30%.

Despite currently having fewer than 250 employees – the level which would trigger a formal requirement to publish gender pay data – PPL chooses to publish both gender and ethnicity data voluntarily, as part of its goal of becoming a more diverse and transparent company. It first published annual gender pay gap data in 2017, and added ethnicity pay gap data in 2021. There is no legal requirement for any company to publish staff ethnicity data.

A strategic vision for the long term

The company has a long-term commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and has worked consistently to create a welcoming, safe place to work where all lived experiences are respected. As part of this, PPL has adapted recruitment methods, ensured interview panels are balanced, and invested in staff training. That work has contributed to an increase in the number of non-white employees particularly in the lower earning half of the workforce, which could provide candidates for PPL’s future leadership as they progress through the company in the coming years. It is also a factor in the slightly over gender parity now found among the company’s senior leadership team.

PPL’s approach to delivering fundamental change was formalised last year in a robust five-year EDI strategy, which sets priorities and clear targets for change. The company was one of the first organisations in the music industry to publish an EDI strategy, and it has already resulted in a number of positive initiatives and outcomes, including:

  • Developing the next generation of female executives by partnering with The Cat’s Mother, a network of established women in the music industry who offer mentoring for young females.
  • Engaging with young people from low-income backgrounds through Mentivity, an award-winning mentoring and alternative education provider which supports young people at risk of exclusion from schools in London and Brighton.
  • Creating opportunities for people with disabilities thanks to a partnership with disability charity Leonard Cheshire, which offers paid summer work placements, professional development, and mentoring to young people with a disability or long-term condition. PPL provides paid placements, ensuring support for the intern at each step of the way. Five interns have transitioned into permanent roles within the company.

Gender data

The 2027 target set out in PPL’s EDI strategy is for a 50-50 split between men and women. As of April 2023, PPL’s workforce was 62% male and 38% female. Since the last reporting period, the gender pay gap has shrunk across both the mean and the median measures.

The mean gender pay gap has dropped to 5.4% in favour of men, from 11.7% in 2022. If CEO pay is excluded from the calculations, the mean gender pay gap is reduced to just 0.3% in favour of men, compared to 5.7% on the same basis in 2022. Having a virtually equal number of men and women (49% and 51% respectively) in the company’s senior leadership team contributes significantly to reducing the overall mean pay gap.

The median gender pay gap has also decreased since the last reporting period, to 12.5% in favour of men, from 13.6%. Whilst the male/female ratio is almost equal at senior leadership level, a heavier male skew further down the organisation at manager level causes the median gap (12.5%) to be higher than the mean (5.4%).

PPL operates a bonus scheme which is based on company and individual performance. It is subject to certain eligibility criteria – for example, an employee’s start date. The proportion of male and female employees who received a bonus for work in 2022 (paid in March 2023) was 87.3% and 83.1% respectively.

Payment of this bonus saw the mean gender bonus gap increase to 39.9% in favour of men, from 34.2% in 2022. This gap is reduced to 16.4% in favour of men if the CEO is excluded from figures (compared to 8.1% on the same basis in 2022). The percentage of people eligible for a bonus fluctuates each year, as does the amounts paid out. These variable factors impact the gap each year.

The median gender bonus gap in 2023 was 26.3% in favour of men – a reduction from 30.8% last year.

Ethnicity data

In its 2022 strategy, PPL set an ethnicity target for its 2027 workforce based on the 2011 census data for London and South East England, where most of its staff live. That target has since been updated according to the 2021 census data and now stands at 65% white people and 35% non-white people. In April 2023, people declaring any ethnicity other than white made up 30% of PPL’s workforce, compared to 27% in 2022. The 2023 figure rises to 35% in the lower earning half of the organisation.

As of April 2023, PPL’s mean ethnicity pay gap decreased to 30% in favour of white employees, from 39.8% in April 2022, and would drop to 26.8% if CEO base pay were excluded. The gap, while narrowing, remains because the proportion of employees of non-white ethnicity is higher in the lower earning half of the workforce. Over the medium to long term, it is hoped that this population will provide PPL with a sustainable pipeline of talent to progress through the organisation and into the upper earning quartiles.

The median ethnicity pay gap increased to 23.6% in favour of white employees; it was 17% in 2022. Again, this reflects the higher proportion of white employees in the upper half of the organisation (76%) than in the lower half (57.6%). The proportion of non-white employees in the upper-mid quartile has also fallen.

The company’s mean ethnicity bonus gap is 20.7% in favour of white employees, compared to 18.3% in 2022. Its median ethnicity bonus gap is 10.4% in favour of white employees, compared to 9.1% in 2022.

As noted above, the percentage of people eligible for a bonus fluctuates from year to year. For 2022, 90.2% of white employees received a bonus and 75% of non-white employees received a bonus.  The vast majority of the cases where PPL staff did not receive a bonus for 2022 were due to factors such as start dates or taking parental leave, and this applied to a larger number of non-white employees than white employees.  While the numbers of non-white employees are steadily increasing, the lower percentage of non-white employees receiving a bonus is likely to remain due to the effect of start date on eligibility criteria.  Over time, as PPL’s overall ethnicity targets are met, the company expects to see these figures equalising.

Kate Reilly, Chief Membership and People Officer at PPL, said:

“At PPL, we are very proud of the work we’re doing to contribute to a fairer, more diverse industry. Releasing these figures, which show further overall progress towards our targets, positions us among the industry leaders on this issue – we are one of a very limited number of our peers in the music ecosystem to publish colleague ethnicity data.

“Striving to become an ever more equitable and inclusive company is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good for business; PPL is stronger for better reflecting our membership and society at large. Although we are continuing to do everything in our power to make PPL a fair, welcoming place to all, we know there are no short-term fixes. Over the coming years, we will further develop our diversity throughout all levels of the organisation.”

This story was originally published on 15/8/23