EasyJet CEO, BBC Stars Take Pay Cuts for Gender Equality

EasyJet CEO, BBC Stars Take Pay Cuts for Gender Equality

EasyJet, the discount airline based out of Luton, UK, announced on Monday that its CEO, Johan Lundgren, had asked the board to reduce his salary to match the compensation his predecessor Carolyn McCall was earning when she left EasyJet last year. Lundgren’s salary, originally set at £740,000, will now be reduced by 4.6 percent to £706,000, the company said in a statement. All other aspects of his remuneration package are identical to McCall’s.

The airline suffered a bit of negative press this month after publishing its gender pay gap in line with a new UK law requiring all organizations with over 250 employees to do so. EasyJet reported a 51 percent pay gap between men and women, attributable to the fact that its pilots—the most highly-compensated frontline employees in the industry—are 94 percent male. In Monday’s statement, EasyJet stressed that this imbalance was true of the entire commercial airline industry and that the company was taking steps to create more opportunities for women pilots:

Around 4% of commercial pilots worldwide are female. easyJet does better than the industry as a whole at 5% and easyJet’s progressive culture has enabled female pilots to progress more easily than at other airlines. In fact, over a third of easyJet’s female pilots are already Captains. But we recognise we need to do better. That is why three years ago easyJet launched our Amy Johnson Initiative to encourage more women to enter the pilot profession. We set a target that 20% of new pilots should be female by 2020, up from 6% in 2015.

Last year we recruited 49 female new entrant co-pilots. That’s a 48% increase on the previous year and takes the proportion of easyJet new entrant female pilots to 13%. This is a great achievement given the deep seated view in society that being a pilot is a male job and means the airline is on track to meet our 2020 target.

EasyJet’s announcement comes just days after the BBC revealed that six of its most high-earning male presenters had agreed to take pay cuts to close the gap with their female colleagues, :

The BBC said Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell, John Humphrys, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Vine had all accepted reduced wages. … Vine said: “It needs to be sorted out and I support my female colleagues.”

The Radio 2 and Eggheads presenter was the best-paid of the group, earning between £700,000-£749,999 in 2016/17. The new salaries haven’t been revealed. Of the six, Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, earned the least, in the £200,000-£249,999 bracket – compared to Carrie Gracie’s £135,000-a-year salary.

Gracie, formerly the network’s China editor, resigned her position earlier this month in protest against the stark disparity in pay between male and female editors. The public disclosure of high earners’ salaries at the BBC last summer sparked major controversy when it was revealed that the broadcaster’s highest-paid talent was overwhelmingly white and male, while women were making much less than men in similar roles. BBC Director General Tony Hall later commissioned an equal pay audit of the company, which the BBC says will be published this week.