Irish Independent publisher Mediahuis pledges to tackle male bias as it reveals gender pay gap of 22%

‘Clear evidence of a significant imbalance’ across the news media company, it concedes

Women employees of newspaper and website publisher Mediahuis Ireland earn substantially less than their male colleagues, the company’s gender pay gap report for 2022 reveals.

The European media group said it had a mean (average) gender pay gap of 22.3 per cent and a median pay gap of 24.4 per cent at its operations in the Republic, based on hourly earnings.

This is likely to be well above the current average gender pay gap in the State, which European Commission statistics body Eurostat placed at 11.3 per cent in 2018.

In its first report on the gender pay gap following the introduction of Government legislation this year, Mediahuis said it paid male and female employees equally for doing the same role at the same level in the organisation.


“We do however, like many organisations, have more men than women in leadership, publishing and technology roles and this is the main driver of our current gender pay gap,” it said.

“We are at the very beginning of our journey in terms of quantifying this gap for the first time, and we recognise and acknowledge that it provides clear evidence of a significant imbalance within our organisation that needs to be addressed.”

Mediahuis said it was “committed” to being an inclusive employer and was initiating “a number of programmes” to improve gender representation across its business and address “the legacy issues that have historically led to a male bias within the industry”.

Belgian-headquartered Mediahuis acquired the former Independent News & Media in 2019 and its Irish operations are led by chief executive Peter Vandermeersch.

The company’s titles in the Republic include the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent and the Sunday World, while it also owns the Herald and a number of regional newspapers and ecommerce sites. The report does not include the Belfast Telegraph, as this is not covered by the legislation.

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The company employs more men than women, with 61 per cent of its workforce male. This proportion rises to 64 per cent at its editorial operations in Dublin.

Mediahuis said it would “substantially increase and develop our female workforce across all functions and levels within our business” to improve this ratio. It also said it would play its part to help achieve the wider group’s ambition for 50:50 gender balanced leadership by 2030.

Its gender pay gap report also shows a mean bonus pay gap of 34.8 per cent, a “large” gap that the company said reflected the higher proportion of men at senior levels who participate in the company’s annual bonus incentive plan arrangements.

The median gender pay gap refers to how much a female employee at the midpoint of all female hourly wages is paid compared to a male employee at the midpoint of all male hourly wages. There was no difference in median bonus pay.

The proportion of male and female employees in its lower, lower-middle, upper-middle and upper quartile pay bands shows the best paid individuals within the company are far more likely to be men.

Only 25 per cent of the upper quartile band are women, while 53 per cent of the lower quartile are women, despite female employees only representing 39 per cent of the Mediahuis workforce.

“We want to ensure access to opportunities is fair and transparent for all employees to reach their full potential. We are therefore strengthening succession planning, employee development and recruitment processes with gender balanced interview panels and gender balanced shortlists where possible for all open positions with immediate effect,” the company said.

Its report follows the publication on Monday of an 11.55 per cent mean gender pay gap and 13 per cent median gap at RTÉ.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics