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Gender Pay 2021

Wolseley UK Gender Pay Gap Report 2021

Once again, the last year has been extremely tough for many UK businesses. However, we wish to continue to share our gender pay gap reporting for 2021 to ensure we remain focused on this important issue, while continuing to acknowledge the pandemic and other global events which are still having an impact on our business overall.

We see the report we share below as an opportunity to share the ongoing work we're doing to address our gender pay gap, to assess our progress against our peers and to understand where we can continue to learn from other organisations who lead the way.

Colleague reward in Wolseley is designed to be gender-neutral and the gaps between the pay and bonus of male and female colleagues are strongly driven by the structure of our workforce. It continues to be the case that at Wolseley UK and across the wider merchanting industry, proportionally there are fewer females in senior roles. In our business, when structural factors are removed, we believe the differences in colleague reward are then related to individual performance, experience, and skill sets.

This report’s focus is on Wolseley UK Limited. Following the successful exit from Ferguson PLC, Wolseley UK is now wholly owned by Wolseley Group Limited. Wolseley Group has less than 250 employees and therefore is not included within this report. Additionally, whilst we do not legally need to report gender pay information for William Wilson Limited (a subsidiary of Wolseley UK), historically we have shared this information because it employs material number of employees but we will not continue to do so within this report.

What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is the difference in median pay between men and women. This means if all male and female salaries were listed highest to lowest, we would look at the two 'middle' salaries and compare the difference between the two.

Gender pay gap reporting should not be confused with Equal Pay, which is a legal requirement and looks at whether a group of people carrying out similar duties are paid fairly compared to one another. Wolseley UK is an Equal Pay employer.

Impact of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Wolseley UK’s markets, like many other companies across the UK and wider world, have and continue in some form to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, although in a more favourable manner compared to 2020. While the effects of the pandemic are still being felt, all colleagues who were on furlough are now receiving 100% of their monthly earnings and we are continuing to maintain hourly pay rates above the National Minimum Wage.

Our gender pay gap

As reported last year, given that salaries used for 2020 assumed that employees had been paid as if they had not been on furlough, we are therefore demonstrating a like for like, year on year comparison, which provides a clear and consistent approach, irrespective of the pandemic.

In Wolseley UK we are pleased to state that we have no gender pay gap under the median calculation. For information, in 2020 there was a median gender pay gap of 2.16%. This is compared to a national UK gender pay gap in 2021 of 15.4%.(1)

The mean hourly rate for women is lower than that paid to men by 4.97%. Our mean gender pay gap has improved by 0.87% since our last report.

During 2021, Our median and mean gender pay gaps have improved and we continue to remain among the very best performing companies in terms of Gender Pay equality. We believe that the following continue to contribute towards our gender pay gap being better than the national gap:

  • Our minimum pay rate (branded Wolseley Wage) remains at 30 pence per hour more than the National Living Wage. The National Living Wage being an obligatory minimum payable to workers in the UK aged 23 and over which from April 2022 is £9.50 per hour
  • Colleagues under 23 years’ old are paid our full adult pay rate, rather than the lower tier permitted under the National Living Wage
  • An effective grading structure and disciplined pay management ensures consistency across our distributed business operations

While our median and mean rates have improved, we are not complacent and strive to ensure that we maintain and improve this position.

Our gender bonus gap

For the reporting period April 2020 – March 2021, the proportion of men in Wolseley UK paid a bonus during the period was 87.8% compared to 76.0% of women. This proportion is broadly consistent with our figures from last year and our bonus schemes are generally not based on personal performance (excluding sales schemes).

In Wolseley UK, the mean bonus gap between males and females was 47.82%. The median was 40.51%. The median gender bonus gap has risen by 16.28% since our last report, which reflects a lower number of female colleagues receiving a bonus in our business this year compared to last year.

This is mainly reflective of bonuses being paid in parts of the business where males comprise a higher proportion of the population and where those men were paid a higher amount compared to women. The narrowing of the median gender pay gap over the last year means that we expect that this will flow positively into the gender bonus gap going forwards due to the lagging nature of this metric.

Salary quartiles

The legislation requires us to identify our overall pay range, divided into equally sized quartiles and populated with the proportion of men and women colleagues in each quartile. This is set out below:

Wolseley UK


 Percentage of men

Percentage of women 














Merchanting is traditionally recognised as a male-dominated sector but as demonstrated from last year we are working hard to improve our male-to -female ratio across the organisation. We know though, that many factors play into this and it is not something we can change overnight. We remain committed to doing better in this ratio, but as highlighted last year it may take some time before we see significant change. However we have seen strong signs of movement of females through the quartiles which leads us to believe that the initiatives and actions we have taken last year are working positively to achieve a balanced proportion of males and females throughout the organisation relative to our industry.

The majority of our lower quartile roles are based in our branches and distribution centres, whilst most female colleagues are in Q2 and Q3.

How are we working to address this?

We know that we need to improve the gender balance of our workforce. We will do this by attracting the best female talent to the business, while encouraging and nurturing the talent that we already have. This is particularly relevant this year with a very competitive labour market and other forces in the wider economic environment.

As detailed last year, we have put in place a number of actions and initiatives to achieve this, but as with any change programme sustained improvement takes time. We have:

  • Increased the number of applications from women by using software and social media to target them to attend candidate attraction events
  • Increased the number of shortlisted female candidates at recruitment stage
  • Continued unconscious bias training for our leaders and we launched a diversity and inclusion online training module for all colleagues
  • Objectively reviewed any flexible working requests and challenge managers to consider alternative ways of working which are supportive of the needs of all colleagues but particularly female colleagues
  • Introduced hybrid working in some parts of our business to enable employees to achieve a better balance between work and home life
  • Ensured that our key need to prioritise support for female colleagues is addressed in that talent management process
  • Maintain to use our induction to better support colleagues in their first year and on their return to work from extended leave
  • Further improved our flexibility, aiming to offer true flexibility when recruiting so that employees are able to adjust their schedules around other needs in their life, such as childcare, school pick-ups, urgent hospital appointments and so on. This is part of our overall bigger aim of working to create a positive workplace culture, where the company places more emphasis on overall productivity and performance rather than counting hours spent at a desk
  • We have introduced more focus on wellbeing within the business through various Company led initiatives as well as creating synergies through our benefits platforms to provide offerings to support employees’ wellbeing

Additionally, we are continuing to focus on:

  • Our website and social media platforms – keeping a focus on positive female representation, roll-out of the internal social media collaboration platform for colleagues, Yammer, allowing the creation of working groups for ‘Women of Wolseley’ to encourage female role models within the business
  • The environment that women work in, particularly around facilities in branches, culture in offices and branches and female uniforms
  • Continuing to identify and remove any potential for unconscious bias – this will be supported by the implementation of a new HR system
  • Promoting a flexible approach to work – supporting part-time options, job-share and flexible working hours and further looking to advertise these types of roles
  • Reviewing our Maternity pay to support with the attraction and retainment of women within the business
  • The continuation of Women in Leadership development network with myself acting as sponsor from our Leadership Team
  • Further develop diversity and inclusion training as part of our mandatory suite of core training for all colleagues including for example menopausal awareness

In conclusion

As a Leadership Team at Wolseley UK, we are strongly committed to proactively challenging ourselves, every day, about the underlying reasons for our gender pay gap and working collaboratively across our business, with a joint HR and operational approach, to address it.

Jane Connor HR Director – Wolseley UK

(1) From the UK Office of National Statistics Gender Pay Gap in the UK: 2021

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