We’ve been named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2018 for the second time.

The list is published in partnership with Business in the Community and the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. It celebrates UK employers who are building gender equality into their business strategy and have committed to creating a culture of inclusivity and supporting progression for women at work.

I’m really proud that we’ve been recognised on this list for our work so far in supporting gender diversity. Our values and principles are what makes the Co-op different. The listing in the Times Top 50 is recognition of our commitment to building an inclusive organisation that reflects the communities we work in where everyone can achieve their ambitions.

Take a look at this short video from Tina Mitchell, a Divisional Managing Director in Food as she talks about what  being inclusive at the Co-op means to her.

We’ve come a long way

As a business we’ve come a long way in recent years and we’re doing lots of great things to champion gender diversity.

We have one of the UK’s only female Retail CEO’s in Jo Whitfield leading our Food business and our split on the Exec team is now over 50% female.

We also have a well-established Women’s network, Aspire, which launched in 2012 and has gone from strength-to-strength, with almost 1,000 members and growing.

Aspire is run by volunteers from across Co-op and focuses on supporting women at the Co-op and their careers. This includes mentoring, workshops and a parent network (for both men and women). If you’re interested in hearing more about Aspire email aspire@coop.co.uk

During the last year we also became charity partner to the Snowdrop Project and the Sophie Hayes Foundation who provide support exclusively for female victims of modern slavery.

Our Fairtrade Cocoa also began to support a Women’s Leadership School in the Ivory coast for Cocoa Farmers, and we announced that we would cover the cost of the Tampon Tax.

We’re also expanding our industry leading apprenticeship programme up to degree level and our 2017 intake was made up of 52% women and 48% men.

See the full list of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2017.

Helen Webb, Chief People Officer

Join the conversation! 24 Comments

  1. Its quite interesting reading the comments from some of you that say that men and women get the same pay for the same job when that is simply not true. On my team there are 13 women and 2 men. I started on my team the same time as one of the men, we both joined the company at the same time, both the same age, neither of us had previous experience. I hold a level two certificate in customer services and my team mate dropped out of school at 14 yet he earns £2000 a year more than I do. The other women on my team earn the same as me and some have been working within the company for more than 10 years. As far as I can tell the only difference between us is that my reproductive organs are on the inside and not on the outside.

  2. Interestingly females outperform males at all levels of education and nearly a third more women than men go on to study at degree level however they enter the workplace on the same grade as a male with no degree who took up his entry level post three years previously and has since received three annual increments. So a woman who is more qualified and skilled than a man still earns less than him from the get go simply by dint of the fact she took time to complete her education and so from day one is effectively playing catch up throughout her career. Until salaries are set by balanced scoring NOT banding there will never be equality. Although interestingly, there was a US study that examined the wage trajectories of people who underwent a sex change. Their results: even when controlling for factors like education, men who transitioned to women earned, on average, 32% less after the surgery. Women who became men, on the other hand, earned 1.5% more.

  3. The gender pay gap is massively impacted by what level the majority of women in a company work. A quick look at the stores database is revealing and depressing. 5 Divisional Managers, 1 female so 20% representation. 27 Regional Managers with 3 women, 11% representation. 129 Area Managers of which 17 are women, 14%. I don’t know how the stores colleagues are represented, but I imagine we have more that 14% who are women.

    • gender should have nothing to do with getting a job. It should always go to the best, most suitable person regardless of their sex. Why give it someone less qualified just to even up “quotas”? That smacks of equality gone mad and is, in fact, inverted sexism of the highrest order.

      • “Equality?”
        You’ve understood the point – in that gender should have nothing to do with getting a job- and spectacularly missed it at the same time. If there are only 17 women out of the 129 area managers, that means at somewhere down the line women are not getting the same support and development and men are getting to fill them.

        Of course the 112 men are perfectly qualified for the job, but why the spectacular mismatch in ratios for a position where gender should have no bearing. Quotas simply paper over the cracks (the only one mentioning them here is you), and to fix these mis-matches there has to be a cultural change from the top down to address this.

    • Do you have evidence that the gender pay gap is impacted by the level of the majority of women in a company Abbie? I’m not suggesting that your comment is not factual… I am genuinely interested in any research that has been done that supports it as it is not something I have heard or read about before. Thanks.

    • Why is it depressing? The simple fact is more women still choose to spend time at home raising children. I don’t think this is depressing. Call me old fashioned, but certainly in my, my partners’ families, and our distant families, women are the main childcarers. And of course this impacts their career prospects. But its a choice they make. I do wish we’d stop bleating on about this supposed gender pay gap.

  4. I was having same conversation yesterday about difference in pay between genders

  5. now if we could just get rid of the pay gap we would be higher up the list

  6. couldn’t put it better myself Steve

  7. But we still have pay inequality

    • I’m not sure we do – certainly up to store manager level , everyone I know is paid on a level playing field, and indeed probably the highest paid Store Manager I know of was female…there aren’t any barriers to women becoming SMs these days on the face of it. We may have more male SMs than female, but that’s not pay inequality.

      • we do have pay inequality.. all companies had to publish their pay gaps between men and women last month and the pay gap is at around 16-17%.. not the worst I have seen but it is still a pay gap nonetheless…

      • The gender pay gap report didn’t look at the pay differences of men versus women in the same role, it looked at the pay difference across the business. This therefore includes the higher proportion of male managers and the higher proportion of female part time workers – which is part of the gender equality problem. Why are there more men in managerial positions and why are women working part time more than men? Gender inequality is more complex than someone’s hourly rate of pay.

        I’m very proud to work for a company that does a lot of work for gender, racial or LGBT diversity and it’s great to see us rewarded on lists like this.

        • There is a great Jonathon Pie sketch which neatly illustrates the point being discussed here.

        • You are on the rite track Nick, the pay gap has been showed to be a myth many times and is completely not true.
          Men will pick work over holidays there child’s play and do more over time than woman which means they take more money home and is there a problem with that no not at all it is there choice.
          But when you have equality there are people who just don’t know what to do with it there is not problem and no pay gap proven many times it is just some people unable to handle the fact men and woman are equal in the work place.

      • Ah – a man explaining that there are actually in fact no barriers to women or pay inequality. Plus ça change…

        • Why do you assume that Nick is male, CB? And to be fair to Nick (irrespective of whichever gender identity Nick assumes), I don’t believe it was an example of ‘mansplaining’ about the lack of barriers or pay inequality. If you read a little more carefully (rather than jumping on the bandwagon) you will note that it was an explanation about how the gender pay gap is calculated, followed by a very pertinent question about why there is a gender difference in managerial post holders and part time workers.

          How about engaging in a constructive debate about gender inequality CB, and try not to be part of the problem please!

          • BGN – My Comment was directed at Antony T. Apologies that that wasn’t clear, I actually agree with Nick’s post

        • That’s not what I said. I said there aren’t any barriers to women becoming Store Managers these days, and I’ll stand by that. The chances and opportunities are the same for anyone, regardless of gender, and the pay once you get there is the same whatever gender you are.

          • Anthony – I’m glad you feel confident enough to speak on behalf of Women on what barriers they face. Personally I think the issue is a little more complicated than that.

            • I apologise if you think I’m attempting to speak on behalf of women – I’m trying to do that at all. I’m just stating that from my own experience, and obviously in my own opinion, women have just as much opportunity as men to become SMs. The question that needs addressing, perhaps, is why they choose not to?

          • Completely correct Antony T my friend each gender has the same opportunities to get to any position.
            Just because there are more males just means they were the rite person for the job that’s all each person has the same chance and help as everyone else.

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