SOME of the best-known employers locally have revealed they are paying men substantially more than women on average.

Firms with more than 250 staff had until midnight last night to publish details of their gender pay gaps.

Prime minister Theresa May has said the figures will make for “uncomfortable reading” but said a “burning injustice” needed to be tackled.

Among those with the biggest gulf is Ryanair, which is the main operator at Bournemouth Airport.

Its median hourly pay for men was 71.8 per cent higher than for women, meaning women are paid just 28p for every £1 that men are paid.

It blamed the disparity on the gender gap among pilots, with women making up only eight of its 554 pilots.

Firms have to report their pay gap as a mean, or average, figure and as a median – the figure in the middle of the whole range. The median is usually taken as a better guide.

Bournemouth’s biggest private employer JP Morgan had a 29 per cent median pay gap.

It said: “This raw calculation does not account for, among other things, tenure, position, role or location. Rather, it reflects the representation of men and women in senior roles.”

At Dorset-headquartered LV=, women were paid 23.5 per cent lower. It said it was taking steps to address the pay gap, adding: “We understand why it exists, recognise there is work to be done and are focussed on the steps we need to take to close the gap.”

Nationwide, which employs around 1,000 people locally, paid women 31 per cent lower, while at Barclays Bank, the gap was 14.2 per cent.

Alison Robb, Nationwide’s leader of people and culture, said it was making “good progress” but “the sector falls behind others” and there was “much more work to be done”. Barclays said its gap reflected the high proportion of men in senior roles and that it had “more to do” in “accelerating the progression of women” into top jobs.

AFC Bournemouth had a 30 per cent median pay gap – along with a gap of 83 per cent in mean pay. It said it was “common knowledge” that professional footballers were “incredibly well paid”, and that its women’s team was still unwaged. Women played key roles, including its general manager Liz Finney.

Merlin Entertainments, the Poole-based theme park operator, reported a 2.7 per cent gap in median pay at Merlin Attractions Operations and 4.77 per cent at Merlin Entertainments Sea Life Ltd. It said the company-wide gap was 2.6 per cent.

It has a programme to support women in developing into senior roles, while policies include gender-balanced shortlists for management vacancies.

Yellow Buses’ owner Bournemouth Transport reported no difference at all in its median figure, while at Morebus owner Go South Coast, women were paid 2.7 per cent less than men.

Bournemouth-based department store chain Beales also said there was no difference in median pay between the sexes, as did housing association BCHA.

Ringwood-based developer Churchill Retirement Living paid women 13 per cent less than men.

In education, the gap was 23.3 per cent at Bournemouth University, 18.1 per cent at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) and 15.6 per cent at Bournemouth and Poole College and 36.3 per cent at Poole High School.

Bournemouth University said the uneven distribution of sexes across the pay scale had created a gender gap. It pointed to a host of policies for tackling the issue and said 71 per cent of female academics applying for pay progression in 2017 were successful.

AUB said the profile of its casual and visiting staff had contributed to the gap and it had set up an initiative to deal with the disparity.

Two local employers said they paid women more than men. BH Live, which runs Bournemouth council’s entertainment and leisure venues had a 4.8 per cent median gap in women's favour, while luxury paint and wallpaper maker Farrow & Ball’s figure was 8.8 per cent.

Public sector organisations had a deadline of March 30 to submit their data.

Dorset Police paid women 27 per cent less than men, while at Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, the gap was 11.9 per cent.

Dorset Police said there were more women in lower-paid roles than senior roles and that it had a strategy to help attract women into the force and help them progress.

Bournemouth Borough Council showed median pay 2.9 per cent higher for women, Dorset County Council 6.5 per cent higher and Borough of Poole 2.2 per cent higher – while for Christchurch and East Dorset combined, women were paid 10.6 per cent less.

Among NHS trusts, Poole Hospital paid women 12.4 per cent less. The figure for Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch was 4.2 per cent, for Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 6.6 per cent, NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group 16.2 per cent and Dorset County Hospital 8.1 per cent.

Employers are required to publish details of their gender pay gaps on their own websites, where the public can also read written statements on the gap.

See the Daily Echo tomorrow for coverage of the employers who submitted details closer to the midnight deadline.