Gender numbers break down almost equally at the state broadcaster which has a 52%-48% male-female split, and it also has more women on the board and in executive and senior management roles than almost all other state enterprises.
But a review of ‘Role and Gender Equality’ found gender roles differed substantially in some divisions, with salaries following suit so that those earning under €40,000 a year were 62% female and 38% male.
While the gap almost vanished in the €40,000 to €60,000 pay bracket, it re-emerged in the €80,000-€100,000 category where men outnumbered women 59% to 41%. It widened after that with 70% of those earning more than €100,000 being male compared to just 30% female.
Report author Kieran Mulvey said the differences were partly due to historical imbalances — for example there were more women in lower-paid administrative roles while the jobs for engineers, technicians, camera crews and riggers were dominated by men. He said he expected this would change over time but it required monitoring.
He said the actual pay disparity between men and women overall, as measured as a proportion of average wage, was 4% — small compared to the 14% gap in the economy as a whole.
But he said the company needed to be more upfront about its employment practices.
“There is a lacuna in certain areas of the broadcaster’s remuneration, earnings and promotion policy and practice that requires further levels of transparency,” he said. “A new transparent culture has to emerge that has no taint of gender bias beyond that of positive discrimination.”
He also stressed that his review was restricted to permanent staff and those on fixed-term contracts. The highest-paid presenters, usually retained as self-employed contractors, were excluded despite the fact that it was controversy over pay differences between high-profile men and women presenters that prompted the review in the first place.
The National Union of Journalists said the report did not represent the full picture at RTÉ and called for a root-and-branch review of all employment practices and procedures there. “This was a wasted opportunity,” said secretary, Seamus Dooley.
Dee Forbes, RTÉ director-general, said she would engage “seriously and quickly” with the recommendations in the report. Eimear Cusack, head of human resources, said: “The review makes recommendations on transparency, grade alignment and reorganisation, and calls for structured policies on gender pay, diversity and reporting.
"We will move now toward a review of these and our recruitment processes generally, as well as our grading and reward structures.”
The RTÉ Trade Union Group said it had received a commitment that it would be involved in drafting the terms of the review. It said it would also continue to work on issues around freelances and contractors.