Thought Machine’s Gender Pay Gap: A snapshot of April 2023

What is the gender pay gap?

At Thought Machine, we calculate our gender pay gap based on UK Government guidance:

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average (mean or median) earnings of men and women across a workforce.

Companies that employ more than 250 people (like Thought Machine) are legally required to publish a snapshot of their gender pay gap each year, using data from the year prior. The following data is a snapshot of our gender pay gap position as of April 2023.

The methodology

The data is not a measure of pay equality (it is a legal requirement for men and women performing equal work to receive equal pay). By looking at the data in aggregate, we see a picture of the overall differences in pay between men and women in the business. This data also reveals the kinds of roles held by men and women – and which gender is more or less represented in different salary bands.

It is an opportunity for us at Thought Machine to observe the disparity in pay between men and women across the business and ask ourselves the question as to why those differences exist.

We have collected and analysed data with regard to:

  • Average hourly pay for men and women
  • Bonus pay for men and women
  • The proportion of men and women in different pay quartiles
Diversity and Inclusion

Since 2020, we’ve been actively enhancing our gender representation, leveraging our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and executing strategies to recruit and retain more women across the organisation. Since 2020, we have seen a rise from 25% of hires identifying as women to 34% in 2022. Unfortunately, we only hired a few engineering roles throughout 2023, which had a smaller pool of candidates identifying as women, reducing our percentage of women hires. Below are proactive steps being taken to reduce this gap.

Understanding the gap

We can provide an encouraging update on our efforts to address the gender pay gap. We have observed a reduction from 20% in 2020 to 18.3% in 2023. Over the preceding year, there has been an increase in the representation of women in both the upper-middle and upper-pay quartiles, with a growth of 36%. This progress has led to an elevation in the proportion of women in these brackets from 15% to 18% (upper-middle quartile) and from 12% to 14% (upper quartile). In 2023, the mean difference in the hourly pay received by men and women was 18.32%, meaning men are paid 18.32% more per hour than women in our company. The median difference shows that hourly pay was 19.6% higher for men than women.

While progress is being made, it’s important to recognise that there remains a higher proportion of men than women within our workforce at Thought Machine. While we have implemented incremental changes, these changes are gradual. We anticipate ongoing incremental shifts rather than expecting drastic annual changes. Furthermore, we still have more women in lower-paid jobs than men. This trend is influenced by industry-specific and systemic factors that demand our proactive efforts in challenging. 

Bonus pay gap

  • We have calculated that 24 men received a bonus, while nine women received a bonus. We don't pay bonuses on salaries, but we do pay sales commissions and payments for recruitment referrals – which are classified as bonuses for this report.
  • There was a 78% difference in bonus pay between men and women. This is largely due to the gender imbalance in the sales team. As the commission amount paid in sales is significantly larger than that paid for recruitment referrals, this further increases the bonus gap.
  • This bonus pay gap has been reduced from 89% in 2022 to 78% in 2023. This is because we increased hiring into sales and sales engineering teams in 2022, making more women eligible for sales commissions.

April 2023

What have we done to close the gap?

Every year, we strive to increase the number of women we onboard into the company. We achieve this by proactively reaching out to more candidates who identify as women, partnering with diversity groups at universities, and participating in and speaking at women in tech meetups, among other initiatives. We have consistently increased the percentage of women hired into the company each year, progressing from 25% in 2020 to 34% in 2022. Unfortunately, this momentum was disrupted in 2023 due to reduced hiring in this year.

We monitor promotions and level increases by gender throughout the company. We are pleased to share that in 2022 and 2023, more women were promoted than men relative to their representation in the organisation. This has resulted in more women moving into the upper middle and upper quartiles of pay. 

As mentioned above, more women are in junior roles than men, which diminishes their immediate impact on the pay gap. However, if we continue promoting more women throughout the organisation, this trajectory will help us narrow the pay gap further.

Intern hiring has enabled us to bolster gender diversity, especially in Engineering, leveraging the increasing number of women graduating with software engineering degrees. Since 2021, over 50% of our annual interns have identified as women or non-binary. However, as interns are typically junior and lower paid, this contributes to a higher percentage of women in the lower pay quartile. Despite this, we remain committed to this strategy to enhance overall diversity.

In addition, our Inclusion Council has been working with HR to build more inclusive policies. One initiative has been revamping our ‘return to work’ programme for people who have taken long-term leave. This revamped framework includes the development of more comprehensive and easily accessible documentation and guidance to assist individuals in preparing for their leave. Additionally, we have introduced a new coaching programme specifically tailored to support women and primary caregivers returning from maternity or adoption leave, as well as their managers. The aim is to facilitate a seamless transition back into the workforce upon their return.

We have also implemented policies addressing menopause, workplace transitioning, and gender identity. These policies enhance inclusion and education throughout the organisation and can directly contribute to closing the pay gap through retention and reducing attrition rates.

How can we further progress in closing the gap moving forward?

Continue to actively pursue the recruitment of more women and individuals from minority genders.

  • Although we have fewer roles to recruit, we will continue to recruit sporadically. The recruitment team is committed to specific outreach targets for all positions, meaning candidates cannot progress to interview unless a certain percentage of outreach candidates for gender diversity has been met. 

Mentorship framework

  • A mentorship framework will be rolled out in Q2 2023, with individuals responsible for self-enrollment. The People team will guide participants on establishing an effective mentor/mentee relationship and being a good mentor, ensuring a successful and meaningful connection.
  • While mentoring is open to all genders, there will be parameters ensuring individuals of certain seniority make themselves available as mentors, meaning more men will take on roles as mentors.
  • Priority for mentees will be given to junior and mid-level employees, where women are most represented in the organisation, meaning more women will receive mentoring.

Succession planning and internal mobility 

  • Starting in 2024, we are tracking internal mobility and promotions by gender. This proactive approach will allow us to carefully monitor how we support individuals throughout the organisation, ultimately creating opportunities for our employees and facilitating greater progression for women. Once we have measured our baseline, we will look at strategies to improve mobility for women and minority genders year on year.
  • The HR team is developing a succession planning process to ensure key roles in our organisation have successors identified. We'll monitor the gender distribution in these positions of succession.

Signed – Matt Wilkins, Chief People Officer, Thought Machine

Matt Wilkins signature
Sign up to our newsletter
Thank you! You will now receive some incredible content in your inbox!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
For information about how we use your data please read our privacy policy.