The gender pay gap in sport: How we can help

Posted on 24 April 2017 by David Parsons & Liz Ellen

The gender pay gap in sport: How we can help

The gender pay gap - the amount by which men are, on average, paid more than women (currently standing at around 18 per cent) - continues to feature in the news. And there will be an increased focus on this area over the coming months, as it is now a legal requirement for large employers to report – and publish online – the difference between what they pay their male and female staff.

Gender equality is an increasingly hot-topic in the world of sport, and all employers in the industry should approach their new obligations with consideration.


The first step for an employer is to determine whether they are in scope. Employers with more than 250 employees will be caught by the legislation and will therefore have to publish their pay data. For these purposes "employees" could include a whole host of workers not necessarily on the payroll, such as matchday stewards, youth coaches and scouts.

Thereafter, the pay data will need to be collated, processed and analysed to produce:

  • the mean and median average pay of male and female employees;
  • the mean and median average bonuses of male and female employees;
  • the proportion of male and female employees receiving bonuses; and
  • the distribution of male and female employees in quartiles when the individuals' earning are put in order from highest to lowest.

These figures must then be reported (by 5 April each year) to a government website and published on the employer's own website. They can be supported by a narrative explaining the figures, which provides a chance to put the figures in context and explain the challenges, or opportunities, facing the business.


Addressing the gender pay gap is about more than just reporting your statistics. Professional men's football clubs may be able to explain extreme distortion in the upper quartile by the fact that the players are the highest earners and they are all male, but such an obvious justification may not exist lower down the scale.

This can only really be combated by using the narrative to explain that data.  It is crucial that employers within the sports industry ensure that the narrative is used effectively as a tool to minimise the potential impact on reputation, recruitment and retention. 

At Mishcon de Reya we are helping our clients to get ready for their gender pay gap reporting by:

  • assessing whether they are in scope;
  • carrying out confidential and privileged gender pay gap audits based on clients' anonymised data;
  • producing reports, illustrating the figures in an easily digestible and visual format and advising on the issues and legal risks arising;
  • advising on any additional analysis, and any initiatives or other solutions to help address the gap and create value for your business.

If you would like us to help your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch.