Sainsbury’s held up as example of diversity ‘best practice’

Sainsbury’s has been held up as an example of best practice in diversity in a Gender Pay Gap in Retail report, issued today by Diversity in Retail (DiR) in partnership with PwC.

The report highlights the progress made towards closing the gender pay gap across the retail sector during the last two years. It reveals that progress towards closing the gap has been made, with the mean pay gap dropping from 13.1% in 2018/19 to 11.8% in 2020/21.

Many retailers have responded to overcoming the gender pay gap with detailed action plans which address the disparity in a number of ways, including updating policies, creating inclusive cultures and prioritising flexible working.

The Sainsbury’s case study revealed a number of areas the Big 4 grocer has focused on as it addresses its diversity and inclusion policies.

Read more: Co-op, M&S and Unilever CEOs among business leaders signing diversity pledge

Family-friendly policies include improved guidance on parental leave and significant improvements to its Family Leave offering, with 26 weeks’ paid maternity or adoption leave and up to four
weeks’ paid paternity leave.

Other areas of focus include female-focused development programmes, celebrating role models, creating safe spaces for employees, educating the senior leadership team and proactive investment in development programmes for ethnically diverse colleagues. A mandatory approach to inclusive recruitment has also been designed to reduce the effects of unconscious bias.

Sainsbury’s has also embraced employee networks to help shape the organisation’s approach and create an inclusive environment across the company.

The grocer also published its ethnicity pay gap alongside its gender pay gap in 2021 for the second year running,  recognising that disclosing this information is a positive step towards full transparency and meaningful change.

“Colleagues are at the heart of everything we do and their commitment to our purpose and values is key to our Group’s long-term success,” commented Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts.

“Our aspiration is to be a truly inclusive retailer, where every single one of our colleagues can fulfil their potential and where all our customers feel welcome when they shop with us.”

“It is reassuring to see the gender pay gap in the retail sector continue to decrease, especially given it is a sector with lower pay gaps than the rest of the market,” said PwC’s inclusion and diversity consulting senior manager, Jason Buwanabala.

“However, it is critical for companies to continue making progress and sharing narrative around reducing their gender pay gap, especially given the disproportionate impact on women of the pandemic, which saw female workers lose jobs more frequently and being more likely to take on additional childcare responsibilities.”

You can download DiR’s Gender Pay Gap in Retail report in full here.

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