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Lion's new strategy to keep the gender pay gap closed

Lion's new strategy to keep the gender pay gap closed

Lion has banned ban questions about current or previous salary from its interview process as part of its drive to close the gender pay gap.

The move follows research findings that such questions perpetuated lower salaries for women.

Lion chief executive Stuart Irvine (pictured main) told the Australian Financial Review the company had introduced the ban at the end of July.

"We’re never going to ask your salary details because that can be intimidating and we’re going to pay the fair rate for the job," he said.

"If there’s a female applicant and a male applicant and in the interview, they're both successful and we say we’ll pay you 10% more than you’re currently on - you’re just perpetuating the gap into the organisation."

In a statement to Inside FMCG, Lion added: “We’ve been unofficially following this process for a little while but we’ve now formally removed the question from online job applications and we’ll never ask the question in interviews again. Not only will this help us keep the gender pay gap closed at Lion, but it will also create a much fairer system for everyone with pay offers based on market data.

“This is all part of our focus on making Lion a more equitable workforce.”

Marian Baird, professor of gender and employment relations at the University of Sydney, said: "We know the gender pay gap starts virtually as soon as you leave university and unless you break the cycle when you change jobs you’re always going to be building in pay difference between men and women.”

Why closing the gender pay gap matters to Lion

Irvine said in 2017 that the company has no regrets about spending $6million to close the gender pay gap at the company.

“To hold up standards of diversity and inclusion and then tell people we know we underpaid you for the role but just bear with us while we pay you a bit less for the next four or five years – that didn’t sit well with any of us with any integrity,” he noted.

The company conducted a pay gap analysis last year of more than 1600 employees and the leadership team were shocked when Mercer analysis discovered the company was paying men an average 3.2% more than women.

“To be honest because of our values of meritocracy and inclusion we didn’t expect to find anything,” he said. “We were doing it more as a health check than anything else.”

The company moved quickly to close the gap by increasing pay for 950 women as well as 700 men, who had been paid slightly less than their female counterparts.

The company now has a 50:50 gender target by 2026 and conducts pay analyses every six months to ensure the pay gap remains at zero.

In February, Lion was recognised by The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) for best practices in promoting gender equality in the workplace.

Lion Beer, Spirits & Wine MD James Brindley discussed what diversity and inclusion mean to the company at an Embrace Difference event last year. Here's what he had to say: