2022 Gender Pay Report - Working for diversity at Webbs

At Webbs we value the differences which a diverse workforce brings; it’s important our team reflects the wide range of customers we serve on a day-to-day basis.  Webbs is a family business where colleagues can be themselves and where everyone is encouraged to reach their full potential.  We make our decisions about recruitment, reward and promotion on the basis of merit alone. In our last employee engagement survey, 88% of our team agreed that “people here are treated fairly regardless of their gender".

We welcome the opportunity to analyse our gender pay gap as this helps to inform our discussions about career progression for all colleagues. The results for 2022 challenge us to keep asking ourselves how we will continue to develop an even more inclusive and diverse team. While the figures are valuable for the awareness they raise, they are only a part of the bigger picture. At Webbs we are actively listening to and involving our colleagues on all levels via internal forums and team surveys to help us deliver more career development opportunities.

How are we progressing?

  Webbs 2022 Webbs 2021 UK National*
Median 0% 0% 9.7%
Mean 7.7% 9.6% 5.5%

* Based on data from the Department for International Trade Gender Pay Report 2021 to 2022

Our median gender pay gap was 0% at 5 April 2022; another way of looking at this is when comparing median hourly rates of pay, women earn the same £ for £ per hour as men. Our mean gender pay gap was 7.7% at 5 April 2022, which is a continued improvement on the last few years and is only slightly higher than the UK National Average. The mean gender pay gap reflects a much higher volume of female employees on shorter-hour and variable contracts in our team and we have more females overall working in our business at 63.3% at 5 April 2022. Whilst we have more males in senior management positions in the company, this continues to be addressed, with now more females (53%) than males in the upper quartile of pay rates in the business. We have also recruited more females into senior management positions in the last 18 months so we would expect the mean pay and bonus gap scores to reduce further next year.

We are pleased with these results which are based on 401 relevant full-pay employees, as there were no instances of furlough-related leave versus the previous 2 years reporting this data. The scores are an improvement on the previous year even with 135 more employees included in the data reported at 5th April 2022 versus previous year, of which 70% were female in the 3 lower quartiles of the hourly pay scales. As at 5 April 2022, we only excluded 9 employees from the above gender pay gap calculations due to being on Maternity/Paternity leave or long-term sick leave. The analysis is therefore much more representative of our business compared to the previous 2 years.

Since February 2018 we have had our Specialist Training Guarantee in place where we will fund training courses for our team members, from AAT to RHS qualifications. We also run a Future Leaders Programme – this is open to all colleagues at team member level to apply and on average 50% of applicants have been female. Four team members, two male and two female were successful in completing this year long programme in 2022 which included formal and informal learning, mentoring and management level experience. They have now moved on to the next stages of their Webbs careers, as have the majority of those who have undertaken this programme in the last four years.

Since 2018 we have published transparent career paths documentation linking performance to reward in all areas of our business. We have seen a number of colleagues progress up through the three career path levels as they take on responsibilities and develop specialisms; this helps to show how we reward and promote fairly on the basis of merit and performance, irrespective of gender or any other irrelevant factors.

We’re also proud to have worked with the Garden Centre Association on their Rising Stars development programme for Retail and Hospitality colleagues; one female Webbs team member took part in this programme in 2022/23 and won an award for their work and presentation to the GCA panel of judges.

Rewarding across the team:
Within the reporting period, bonus pay was received by 89.8% of men and 92.4% of women. Bonus pay includes our non-contractual annual profit share scheme, open to all team members who’ve been employed for at least part of the previous year. It also includes Christmas gift vouchers, Webbs Way Awards, “thank yous” to our First Aiders and performance related bonuses for successfully completing our event management secondments. The only reason why a small few didn’t receive a bonus payment was due to them being new starters with the business in the previous 3 months prior to the 5 April 2022 snapshot date.

The statutory reporting method for the Gender Pay Report doesn’t allow for bonuses to be converted into full time equivalents which makes the bonus gap seem wider.  Our mean bonus pay gap is 67.9% and our median bonus pay gap is 49.3%. This reflects the facts that currently more men are in senior leadership roles and more women work part time, therefore their bonuses are pro rata. Excluding the bonus of the highest paid Director, the mean bonus gap reduces to 30.9% which is more representative of the business due to the one-off nature of the bonus paid to that Director in the year.

Our profit share distribution is carefully moderated to ensure that such payments are made on a fair and equal basis across our teams.

How are Webbs doing more?
In the last 18 months we have recruited a number of women in more senior roles in the business and over the coming months Webbs continues to focus on the following areas of support for our workforce. These key pillars will allow us to continue growing diversity, equality and to open out pathways to progress across the business:

  • Investing in the Webbs team by building our internal talent pools through our Specialist Training Guarantee, Career Paths and Future Leaders Programme;

  • Promoting opportunities for flexible and part time working for all team members;

  • Talking and listening to colleagues to understand perceived barriers to career progression for all groups including women.

I certify that this information is accurate to the best of my knowledge.


Oliver Nation
Finance Director, Webbs Garden Centres Limited