Both the pay and bonus gaps in hospitality, travel and leisure are in generally lower than the average pay gap across all industries, new analysis released today shows.

The median mean pay gap for all UK companies is around 14% compared to around 8% for hospitality, travel and leisure.

While this appears better than average, there remains a significant gap in the number of women in senior roles.

The pay disparity in travel companies is found to be generally higher at 22% than many other UK firms while pay gaps are generally lower in hospitality and leisure companies.

The median mean bonus gap for all UK companies is 36% compared to 35% for travel companies.

The study by PwC is based on analysis of gender pay gap data disclosures for hospitality, travel and leisure companies submitted earlier this year under the new UK gender pay gap reporting requirements.

The report says: “Work-life balance is a major challenge for those working in the travel sector.

“The operational nature of the sector itself is cited as a barrier to women’s progression. Multi-site operations, travel, both nationally and internationally, and long working hours are common in the sector and can put pressure on those with caring responsibilities.

“Additionally women tend to be disproportionately represented in lower skills and lower paid areas of the industry, and underrepresented in technical areas and sectors, such as aviation.

PwC also finds a “significant gap” in the number of women in senior roles in hospitality companies, although the sector’s overall median mean pay gap is just 7% compared with the overall figure of 14% for all UK companies. Bonus pays gaps in hospitality are 23% compared to 36% for all UK companies.

“Whilst this is materially better than average, there remains a significant gap in the number of women in senior roles, which is important as pay and bonus gaps are also driven by the significant differences in pay and bonus opportunities between the most senior employees and the wider workforce,” PwC says.

Looking at the leisure sector, PwC finds pay gaps being generally lower at 10% while the bonus pay gap is 44%.

PwC said: “Whilst these results appear better than average, there remains a significant gap in the number of women in senior roles. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as skills shortages at managerial levels and all-male or male-dominated boards.

“Additionally women are disproportionately represented in lower skills and lower paid areas of the industry, and under-represented in technical areas and sectors.

“It is also important to note that as with the hospitality sector, the leisure industry tends to have a high labour turnover and a prevalence of low pay, seasonal, and zero-hours contracts which coupled with travel, both nationally and internationally, and long working hours can make working in the industry incompatible with caring responsibilities of all kinds.

“Pay and bonus gaps are also driven by the significant differences in pay and bonus opportunities between the most senior employees and the wider workforce.”