Scottish Sea Farms employs 109 women but they still make up only 18% of the company's workforce.

Salmon farmer restores position on equal pay


Salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms has regained its position on gender parity and closed the pay gap further in several areas, it has said.

Last year, the company reported that some measures had been adversely impacted following the acquisition of Grieg Seafood Shetland which led to an extra 146 men and 40 women being added to the SSF payroll.

However, 2023 gender pay gap reporting, published today, confirms the salmon farmer has not only returned to its pre-acquisition position but also made slight advances, aided by ongoing work to benchmark and align pay grades across the integrated workforce.

Advances include:

  • A 3.8% reduction in women’s mean hourly pay gap
  • A 5.4% reduction in women’s median hourly pay gap
  • 1.2% more women in the top pay quartile
  • 28.6% more women receiving bonus pay.

Both ‘mean’ and ‘median’ are ways of expressing an average value or number but are not the same. The mean of a set of numbers in a data set is obtained by adding up all the numbers then dividing by the size of the data set. This is what most people are referring to when they talk about an ‘average’. The median is usually described as the ‘middle number’.

Women 'on a par' with men

Scottish Sea Farms head of human resources Fiona McCann said: “The key takeaway from the latest reporting, as our mean average hourly pay shows, is that female colleagues are paid on a par with their male counterparts – or, as with this snapshot, slightly more.

“What we can’t ignore, however, is that salmon farming was seen as a primarily male career for many years. As such we have significantly more men on the team than women, some 82% to 18% in 2023, impacting on other measures.

“So, while there remains no difference in median bonus pay – in other words, the middle-earning male and female received the same bonus – the simple fact men outnumber women in each pay quartile, including those in which bigger bonuses are often paid, contributed to our mean bonus pay gap widening in 2023.”

Hire and hold

The single best way to close this and other gender-related pay gaps, said McCann, is to attract and retain more women into the company and sector.

“Our priority has been, and always will be, to hire the best candidate for the job. We’ve made real progress with 109 women on our team currently in roles ranging from freshwater technician, farm manager and fish vet to environmental scientist, laboratory supervisor and supply chain coordinator – but we’d like to see many more.

“We’re battling outdated perceptions of the sector as being overly manual and a lack of awareness of the range of careers available in the present day.

“Overcoming such deeply engrained perceptions won’t happen overnight. We need to be as inventive as we are persistent in our work to attract more women, continually asking ourselves what more we can do and where else we could place ourselves to help raise awareness of the opportunities on offer.”