The new CEO of budget airline company easyJet, Johan Lundgren, has taken a pay cut to match the salary of his female predecessor and announced a commitment to improving the gender gap at the company.
The Guardian reports that Lundgren has taken a “voluntary pay cut” of £34,000 (about $47,826 USD) to match the salary of Carolyn McCall, who left the company last summer. “At easyJet we are absolutely committed to giving equal pay and equal opportunity for women and men,” Lundgren said. “I want that to apply to everybody at easyJet and to show my personal commitment I have asked the board to reduce my pay to match that of Carolyn’s when she was at easyJet.”
While Lundgren is setting a very constructive example for men in business, it’s also a wonderful PR opportunity for his company, which, according to the Financial Times, has “the third-largest mean gender pay gap” of the 704 companies that are required to report salary figures to the UK government. The Guardian notes that the 51.7 percent difference in average pay between men and women stems from the fact that 94 percent of the company’s pilots are men, a problem which stems, in part, from the industry: According to the International Society of Women Pilots, women make up about 5 percent of all commercial pilots.
EasyJet, which hired 49 female pilots last year, has pledged to ensure that by 2020, women will make up 20 percent of new recruits. “I also want to affirm my own commitment to address the gender imbalance in our pilot community which drives our overall gender pay gap,” Lundgren said. I want us not just to hit our target that 20% of our new pilots should be female by 2020 but to go further than this in the future.”