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Updates from Team Bulb

Reporting our Gender Pay Gap

A neon sign in the Bulb office

Measuring and reporting our gender pay gap is important to us; it tells us more about gender equality at Bulb. Gender equality is better for everyone. This year our mean gender pay gap is +6%. In this post, we'll dig deeper into our data, discuss what's going on with Team Bulb and share what we're doing to make Bulb an inclusive place for everyone.

Last year we chose to report our gender pay gap, even though we weren't a big enough business to be required to by the government. This year, companies aren’t required to publish their gender pay gap because of the coronavirus crisis, but we're still sharing ours. We feel it's important for us to share this data and continue the conversation on gender equality.

We want Bulb to be a diverse, inclusive and fair workplace. Sharing our pay gap data keeps us accountable to the progress we're making on improving gender equality at Bulb. Research shows that teams with better gender equality are happier; they have higher productivity, more job satisfaction and lower turnover. Simply put, it's the right thing for us to do.

Meera Patel, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist

Sharing the data

This year's report offers a snapshot of the data from 5th April 2019. At that time, we had 300 people in the team (many less than the 700 we are today). This snapshot date aligns with the Government's requirements for pay gap reporting.

Before we share the data, we want to acknowledge that some of our team members do not identify as gender binary. At Bulb, we welcome people of all gender identities and expressions. When we calculate these figures, we use the binary gender identity people choose when they register with HMRC; either male or female.

We'll start by looking at our hourly pay gap.

A chart showing Bulb's gender pay gap of 6% (in favour of men)

Bulb's mean hourly pay gap is +5.95%. The mean is the average of men's and women's pay. On average, men are paid 5.95% more than women at Bulb.

Bulb's median hourly pay gap is +5.34%. The median compares the midpoints in the ranges of men's and women's pay. At Bulb the midpoint of men's pay is 5.34% higher than the midpoint of women's pay.

To understand this data better, we can look at how men's and women's pay is distributed. To calculate this, we lined up our 300 team members from highest to lowest paid. We then split them into 4 groups of 75, also known as 'pay quartiles'. We then worked out the proportion of men and women in each quartile.

A chart showing the distribution of men and women in the four pay quartiles at Bulb

From the graph, we can see that women are most represented in the lower middle quartile. Put simply, the more women are disproportionately represented in the lower quartiles, the higher the pay gap will be. We've given more detail later in the blog about why there are a disproportionate number of women in our lower middle quartile.

As well as the hourly pay rate, we're also sharing our bonus pay data.

A table showing Bulb's bonus gender pay gap of 17% (in favour of women)

Bulb's mean bonus pay gap is -17.41%. On average, women's bonuses are 17.41% higher than men's at Bulb.

Bulb's median bonus pay gap is -21.74%. At Bulb, the midpoint of women's bonus pay is 21.74% higher than the midpoint of men's bonus pay.

Digging into this further, it's useful to look at the proportion of men and women receiving a bonus. We can see that a higher proportion of our female team members received a bonus compared to male team members. This is because of the distribution of men and women in our two largest teams; customer service and technology. More women are represented in our customer service team than in other teams and the majority of this team received a bonus. By comparison, more men fill technology roles at Bulb than in other teams and a smaller proportion of this team received a bonus.

A chart showing the proportion of team members getting a bonus at Bulb

Our pay gap is reflective of changes in the make-up of our team

Since our last report, Bulb's gender pay gap has widened. This is because we have a higher proportion of women in lower pay quartiles than we did in January 2018. Back then, women were most represented in the upper and upper middle quartiles. In April 2019 women are most represented in the lower middle quartile. This reflects the makeup of our technology and customer service teams and how they've changed over the last year.

We go through a process of benchmarking every year to ensure we're paying our team members fairly for the work they do. In line with our findings from this, customer service roles at Bulb tend to be represented in the lower quartiles of our pay. On the other hand technology roles tend to be more represented in the upper quartiles. Over the year, we've significantly increased the size of our customer service team, and increased the proportion of women hired into this team. This means a greater proportion of women in lower quartiles, resulting in a higher pay gap. In addition, as we've grown our technology team, a bigger proportion of these hires have been men. Within the technology industry, there is generally a higher representation of men. The proportion of tech roles in the UK filled by women has plateaued at 16% since 2009. Whilst we hire more than 16% women into our technology roles, we still inherit some of the gender bias from the market pool. This results in a greater proportion of men in the upper quartiles and a higher pay gap.

We're doing more to improve gender equality at Bulb

We're working hard to promote gender equality across our team and we believe these actions will reduce our gender pay gap over time. By understanding some of the challenges women and people of other gender minorities in our team face at work we can focus on making impactful changes.

As Bulb continues to grow rapidly, we've reviewed our recruitment processes and introduced interview scorecards to reduce bias. We're also working with partners such as Ada's List to improve the diversity of applicants.

We're doing what we can to reduce bias in our promotion processes through blind application screening and creative assessment methods such as 'Multiple Mini Interviews' where relevant skills are tested in short, timed stations. In our latest promotion round, we promoted more women than ever into management roles in our customer service team. To help us ensure our leadership team is representative of the teams they manage, we now track how diverse they are compared to the rest of Bulb. We think this is important because a diverse leadership population makes better decisions.

From reviewing our flexible working policy and new parents' leave to ensuring that our new offices have dedicated breastfeeding spaces, we're committed to making Bulb as family friendly as we can.

We're currently focused on improving gender diversity in technology roles through things like introducing internships. We know that some of the actions we take might widen our gender pay gap in the short term; as more women work in technology they'll often be starting out in junior positions which place them in lower pay quartiles. In the long term though, having a more gender diverse technology team will have a positive impact on our pay gap.


We'd love to know what you think about the work we're doing to make Bulb a great place to work for everyone. Join the discussion in the Bulb Community.