Ryanair's Gender Pay Gap – Does it make sense?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Bath_VIP 10 Apr 2019
at 09:13

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  • Bath_VIP

    I am starting this thread for a wider discussion about gender pay gaps in airlines but Ryanair are an excellent case study.

    In my professional life, I am an independent statistician who likes to blog about data in the public domain and gender pay gap (GPG) data is a very topical dataset for educating people in the correct and incorrect use of statistics. Ryanair have one of the largest pay gaps in the UK with the median woman earning 36p for every £1 that the median man earns but many airlines also have large gaps.

    There is no mystery as to why the gap is so large. Ryanair make it very clear with their own narrative (which I think is an excellent report with great graphics and I have been saying so since last year) which states that their UK workforce essentially just consists of pilots and cabin crew since their head office and engineering staff are not based in the UK.

    Click here for Ryanair’s Gender Pay Gap Report for 2018

    Clearly since pilots are overwhelmingly male and presumably earn 5(?) times as much as cabin crew, who are mostly female, it is no surprise that the median man will found among pilots and the median woman will be found among cabin crew, hence the large gap.

    However, one thing puzzles me which I hope someone can clarify for me on this forum. Their GPG report shows that Ryanair has 700 pilots and 700 cabin crew in the UK. Yet a B737-800 has 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew. So why aren’t Ryanair employing 1400 cabin crew in the UK? I thought Ryanair assigned all employees to a home base and their rotations start and end at that base?

    By the way, If you would like download gender pay gap data for all organisations in the UK, there is a link to a (hopefully) user friendly spreadsheet in this blog post of mine “Where can I find gender pay gap data for 2018?”

    1 user thanked author for this post.



    I suspect the reason is that many FR cabin crew are based in cheaper labour markets where they can be paid 40% of the peanuts that UK-based staff get. Many of these may also be agency rather than employed staff.


    I’d forgotten about the agency option and that may well be the main reason.

    Being based in different countries I don’t think is the reason. Surely that would involve the pilot starting their rotation away from the main base. Don’t cabin crew and pilots share the same rotations?


    I saw a very detailed report on the BBC news site this week again referring to the Gender pay gap and naming certain airlines as fuelling the negative statistics.
    What I don’t understand is comparing the salary of a male pilot with female cabin crew. The two roles are entirely skill based and will attract the salary based on training and skill requirements.
    If there is a gender pay gap within the same skill such as pilots and cabin crew then yes that’s to be dealt with.


    Gin&Tonic, you are right that employers should be looking at salaries within pay bands and job roles for gender differences and seeing if that is an issue. But the other point of GPG reporting is to prompt organisations to ask why their high-earners are predominantly male and the low-earners are predominantly female (or vice-versa) and see if the answer is due to some intentional or unintentional practice.

    For me, the income quartiles are where the most information is to be found and I would like to see companies report median gender pay gaps for each quartile as well. So Ryanair effectively would report its gap for pilots and cabin crew separately.

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