DRINKS giant Diageo has said an inability to attract women into manufacturing roles that require shift working is largely to blame for a 16.7 per cent gender pay gap in its Scottish operations.

The figure, which compares the median salary paid to all male employees with the equivalent for all female staff, compares favourably with the 18.8 per cent gap the Office for National Statistics says exists in the UK as a whole.

However, in the rest of the UK the median female earner at Diageo earns 9.8 per cent more than the median male.

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The reason for the disparity, according to the company’s Gender Pay Gap Report, is that Diageo’s Scottish business focuses mainly on manufacturing while in England the firm employs a large number of women in office-based roles at its London headquarters.

The report said the Scottish pay gap was being driven by “a larger number of manufacturing roles, which traditionally struggle to attract women, in part due to unsociable shift patterns”.

“These roles can attract higher levels of shift allowance and are more likely to be staffed by men,” the report said.

In England, meanwhile, the company’s pay gap favours women because “there is a higher proportion of men in more junior field sales and manufacturing roles, and a higher proportion of women in our office based functional roles”.

Under the terms of the Equality Act all businesses with 250 or more employees are required to publish their gender pay gap statistics. The data measures the gap across all roles rather than comparing what men and women are paid for jobs of equal value.