Revealed: Formula 1’s gender pay gap

Six of Formula 1’s outfits based in the United Kingdom have revealed their gender pay gap publicly. In the underlying data, all bodies reveal that a significant amount of work needs to happen to bring more women into the engineering landscape.

For the first time, UK companies with more than 250 employees are reporting their pay gap to the UK government. As Ferrari, Toro Rosso, and Sauber are based outside the UK, they are exempt from this. With less than 250 employees, Haas are also exempt. The figures reveal the pay gap at Formula One Management (FOM) amongst other organisations.

F1 gender pay gap - median

This percentage gaps above show the difference between the ‘middle paid woman’ and the ‘middle paid man’.

The median gender pay gap for Formula 1’s teams is 22.9 percent, as an example if a female earned £25,000, then a male would earn £30,725. Force India’s median pay gap is least significant at 14.8 percent, with Williams at the other end of the scale at 32.9 percent.

F1 gender pay gap - mean

The mean gender pay gap, better known as the average pay gap, stands at 28.7 percent for Formula 1’s six teams in the UK. Red Bull has the biggest pay gap of the teams that revealed their data, with men earning on average 40 percent more than women.

The difference for Mercedes and McLaren circles around 35 percent range. There are two major outliers. Firstly, Force India is again the least significant, with an average pay gap of just 7.4 percent. Although the number of women at Force India overall is smaller in the lower quartile than other organisations, the difference between them and the other teams in this respect helps their gender pay gap overall.

Formula One Management’s mean gender pay gap stands at 51.9 percent, significantly higher than other sporting bodies such as the Football Association at 23.2 percent, and 23 percent for the Rugby Football Union. In other words, if a woman at FOM earned £20,000 across the year, a man would earn £30,380.

F1 gender pay gap - women distribution

Although the proportion of women in the top quartile at FOM is higher compared with F1’s outfits, the fact that the lower quartile is filled with 53.3 percent of women means that the average is skewed in a similar manner. FOM’s average suggests that there are a small, but significant number at FOM that skews the gender pay gap overall.

The overall volumes above show that women at Formula 1 teams struggle to breakthrough to the top and middle quartile. McLaren’s figures are the most damming of the lot: only 1 percent of people at the team in the top quartile are women. Williams’ and Mercedes’ are the most balanced, but it is a very bleak picture for Formula 1.

What the data fails to reveal is whether jobs occupied by women in the lower quartile have progression paths through to the lower and upper middle quartiles. If they do, then it is possible that the percentages will move as time progresses, but it appears for every ‘lower middle quartile’ job vacancy, you may have four men and one woman vying for that role. It is also unclear if the data submitted includes contractors, as well as the two racing drivers.

Schemes such as Dare to be Different can only help, however there are still very steep barriers to overcome.

More information via The Guardian: What you need to know about gender pay gap reporting.

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4 thoughts on “Revealed: Formula 1’s gender pay gap

  1. I assume that, since the drivers in these teams are Male, that their pay is significant in skewing the data too? I would be interested to see the data with those individuals removed, as Karren Brady has with her football club.

  2. “all bodies reveal that a significant amount of work needs to happen to bring more women into the engineering landscape.”
    Actually, it reveals nothing of the sort. It only reveals a “significant amount of work need[ed]” if you subscribe to the belief that every industry and sector should have a 50:50 gender representation within them, and that the lack of this 50:50 split is purely down to discrimination. This is not the case however.

    The notion that equality is only achieved through 50:50 gender representation is a fallacy, it is not a natural outcome and requires a significant amount of discrimination to actually achieve it, especially if you are talking about an industry that attracts predominantly one gender more than the other.

    The “pay gap” (which is actually an earnings gap) does not allow for any meaningful comparison to be made, although that doesn’t stop some. It does not compare like-for-like situations and when you actually account for the differences between the career choices of men and women, the gap decreases massively.

    The “pay gap” has always been disingenuously used to “prove” women are paid less than men, but in actuality all it “proves” is that in general, women choose to enter lower paid sectors compared to men.
    I myself work in an industry that is dominated by women, I aren’t paid more than my peers simply because I am a man, as the “pay gap” figures would have you believe, I receive the same pay as a woman would in my role.

    In terms of F1, there was always going to be a “pay gap” most of the well paid roles within F1 require the person to be a specialist in their field, due the to the fact that these specialisms attract more men in to them, the majority of the people in these roles are going to be men.

    Initiatives such as Dare to be Different will no doubt help get more women into motorsport, and is targeting them at the right age, whilst they are in education and so can then move on to studying the subjects needed in order to pursue a career in education.

    These are going to be limited in their success though as you still have to account for the interests of the individuals themselves. It’s all well and good wanting to get more women in motorsport, but if they don’t want to, you cannot force someone to take up a career in order to “correct” a meaningless figure for ideological reasons.

  3. “The overall volumes above show that women at Formula 1 teams struggle to breakthrough to the top and middle quartile.”
    The figures do not prove this. The lack of women in the top and middle quartiles (or indeed at any level), is not evidence that they struggle to break through. This is prime example of interpreting the figures and coming up with an assertion that figures themselves do not prove.

    “McLaren’s figures are the most damming of the lot: only 1 percent of people at the team in the top quartile are women. ”
    They are only damning if you want to see them as damning. There is no need for any organisation to have any quotas or representation within their organisation. As long as there is no discrimination, the make up of the team is totally irrelevant.

    “What the data fails to reveal is whether jobs occupied by women in the lower quartile have progression paths through to the lower and upper middle quartiles.”
    Is there data that reveals the same for men?

    “it appears for every ‘lower middle quartile’ job vacancy, you may have four men and one woman vying for that role.”
    This sentence here is possibly the most important one of the whole post. It succinctly explains why not only there are more men than women in motorsport, but why there are more more in the higher paid positions.

    Even when treating applicants with absolute equality (which would not happen in actual recruitment, candidates are rarely as equally qualified and experienced as people they are competing against for the role), the probability is that a man would get this role, due to the fact that there are more men applying.
    There would be a 1-in-4 chance that the successful candidate would be a woman, whilst there would be a 3-in-4 chance the successful candidate would be a man.

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