26/6/20 (Pay Gap)

I’ve been thinking over the last couple of days about the people who worked in the Peter Scott factory. As Hawick’s main archive is shut at the moment, I can’t just amble across to ask to take a look on the records they have on the company there, and it is taking time to read and digest and speak to the people who were there.

So I thought I’d take a look at what I can get hold of fairly easily online: the Gender Pay Gap.

All of the data available online relates to last year, as Covid-19 got in the way of 2020 reporting, but it’s still, of course, very relevant.

There are only two knitwear companies that I’m aware of, and can find the reports from that operate in Hawick that are big enough to have to report their gender pay gap:

Johnstons of Elgin. They have mills in both Hawick and Elgin, and also operate retail stores elsewhere, so their figures also cover these. According to their website, they are the largest independent employers in Hawick, with a staff of approximately 300. They reported in 2019 that approximately 65% of their workforce is female.

Barrie. Barrie is owned by Chanel, and also produces its own cashmere brand; Barrie. I’m not sure how many people they employ, but they were advertising some posts a couple of weeks back in the Hawick Paper).

Another big employer in the town (the only other Hawick company I could find on the .gov site for pay gap reporting) is Emtelle, which reported a gender pay gap of zero last year. Hurrah for equality!

I just wanted to note down these numbers here. Do remember while you read this that the numbers don’t take into account the actual roles that employees are doing; just what they’re being paid and their gender. They’re shown in a percentage, expressed relative to men’s earnings, so a positive % means men are being paid more, and a negative % means women are being paid more. The following are the gap between the median wages of men and women, in 2018-2019:

UK overall:
17.3% for all employees.

UK textiles and garments trades:

Johnstons of Elgin:


Another side of the data is around quartiles, where a list of what all staff are paid is split into 4 quarters; from high to low, and the proportion of women in these sections are reported:

Johnstons of Elgin:
Lower quartile: 83.0%
Lower mid quartile: 74.3%
Upper mid quartile: 64.7%
Top quartile: 37.2%

Lower quartile: 72.6%
Lower mid quartile: 35.7%
Upper mid quartile: 33.3%
Top quartile: 25.0%

useful links:
Office for National Statistics
a helpful article from the Independent
Barrie’s Gender Pay Gap report (2017-18)
Johnstons of Elgin Gender Pay Gap report (2018-19)
the .gov tool for finding gender pay gap data