Gender Pay Gap Report 2020

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.

Section 1: Organisation Overview

The below data represents all staff employed by GSMA globally as at 31 March 2021

Our Gender Population1

GSMA gender population colum graphGSMA gender population graph caption

Overall, the GSMA has more female employees than male employees. We have seen this trend rise marginally by 3 percentage points since 2017.

Gender by Level (as at 31 March each year)

GSMA gender by level graph

There are more women in mid-level, intermediate and entry roles; with more men in senior positions. As a result, our pay gap is driven by the structure of our workforce, having an impact on our mean and median gender pay gap for hourly rates and bonuses.

Following a re-organisation in 2020, the structure of the organisation has changed, resulting in a change of composition of the Leadership Team. While gender representation at Mid-level has not significantly changed, there has been a shift towards equalising gender at Entry / Intermediate and Senior levels. Increasing the number of women year-on-year in the entry, intermediate and mid-levels, alongside investing in development for women at these levels, will in the long-term provide the talent pool to fill senior level positions.

Global pay equality

We are committed to making sure that men and women are paid fairly in comparative roles and have the same opportunity for performance bonuses and other variable pay. We use external data to benchmark all roles globally and audit every individual’s position against the benchmark for their role on a twice-yearly basis to ensure there are no unjustified disparities.

The below graph shows the average position against benchmark across the organisation from April 2016 to April 2021. The gap in men and women’s overall average position against the benchmark has remained statistically insignificant since April 2018, following concerted efforts to close the gap. Due to the GSMA’s financial position, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, salaries were frozen in 2020 and increases limited in 2021, however the gender gap remains insignificant, despite the overall lower position against benchmark.

average position against benchmark graph

Section 2: UK GSMA Entity Reporting

The below data represents staff employed by our UK GSMA entity in the financial year ended March 2020, in line with statutory reporting requirements. At 31 March 2020, 405 staff were employed by our UK GSMA entity, representing 52% of the global workforce.

What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap shows the difference in pay between male and female employees in an organisation. It is defined as the difference between total men’s and total women’s hourly earnings expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.

What is our gender pay gap?

When we refer to the reportable gender pay gap, the ‘Mean’ is taking all hourly rates for male staff, and all hourly rates for female staff, calculating the averages for each respectively, then comparing them to show the difference between the two averages. The ‘Median’ takes the middle point for both men and women and then compares them.

Women’s Hourly pay Mean (Average)
2017 2018 2019 2020
24.3% 25.6% 25.7% 22.7%
Lower than men Lower than men Lower than men Lower than men
Median (Middle)
2017 2018 2019 2020
28% 29.6% 27.3% 24.8%
Lower than men Lower than men Lower than men Lower than men

The gap in hourly rate, which has reduced by 3 percentage points since FY19, exists because we have more men than women in senior positions, and more women than men in entry/intermediate level positions.

We continue to make a concerted effort to narrow the gap through balancing gender profiles at the different levels within the organisation; in FY16 only 28% of our Extended Leadership Team (40 of our top senior managers) comprised of women, by FY21 this had risen to 42%.

Bonus Payments in FY20

Women’s bonus payments Mean (Average)
2017 2018 2019 2020
38.4% 52.4% 36.1% 30.5%
Lower than men Lower than men Lower than men Lower than men
Median (Middle)
2017 2018 2019 2020
50.4% 42.4% 29.1% 31.8%
Lower than men Lower than men Lower than men Lower than men

Bonus payments in FY20 consist of all variable pay received by employees between April 2019 and March 2020, this includes performance bonuses, commission, recognition and referral awards.

In FY20, we saw our bonus pay differential decrease. On average, our female employees’ bonuses were 30.5% lower than their male counterparts. This was an improvement of 5.6 percentage points compared to FY19. When the Leadership Team (6 individuals as at 31 March 2020) are removed from these calculations, the bonus pay differential reduces to 16%. Again, this remaining gap is due to there being more men than women in senior positions, and more women than men in entry/intermediate level positions.

Employees Receiving a Bonus in FY20

All GSMA employees are eligible for performance bonuses (after passing their probationary period (3 months), or commission payments. In FY20, more women than men joined the GSMA in the first half of the financial year (April to September 2019), and, as such, they didn’t receive a bonus in May 2019 and/or October 2019, as they weren’t eligible due to their length of service.

GSMA employee receiving bonus in FY21 graph

Pay Quartiles

pay quartiles graph

We have a higher percentage of male employees in our Upper and Upper Middle quartiles and a higher percentages of female employees in our Lower Middle and Lower quartiles.

2020 Upper Upper Middle Lower Middle Lower
Women’s hourly pay – Mean 9.48%
lower than men
lower than men
lower than men
Higher than men
Women’s hourly pay – Median 0.48%
Higher than men
lower than men
lower than men
Higher than men

When reviewing at the mean and median pay gap within each quartile, we can see a more even comparison of men and women’s pay. Only the Upper quartile shows a more significant gap with women’s mean pay being 9.48% lower than men’s. This is reflective of the male Director General being included in this quartile.

In the Upper Middle and Lower Middle quartile, the differences are not statistically significant. However, in the Lower Quartile, women are earning more than men. This is because there are more women in the higher level positions of the lower quartile compared to men.

What measures are we taking?


In January 2019, we launched OneGSMA, our employee-led Diversity and Inclusion forum. In 2020, we set out our Diversity & Inclusion goals, which go beyond gender parity. We have developed a four-point action plan – a call to action to reduce inequalities among underrepresented talent – choosing to respect and protect human rights through fostering workplace inclusion.

GSMA four points plan

We have published an Inclusive Language Guide to inspire language that is appropriate, respectful and considers circumstance, context and culture.

Staff Survey

In our annual staff survey we ask six diversity and inclusion questions to ensure we track year-on-year progress of key GSMA D&I behaviours and initiatives. Staff feeling that their manager is sensitive to their culture/background scored 91% (5 percentage point increase) and staff feeling that they can ‘be themselves’ at work scored 82% (3 percentage point increase) in the 2021 Staff Survey compared to 2019 Staff Survey, demonstrating the progress being made towards educating our workforce at all levels to create an inclusive culture.

The six questions make up our Diversity Metric, the result of which has remained consistent over the past three years, with 82% of staff answering favourably in 2021.

Attracting, retaining and developing diverse talent

Applicants do not need a degree, nor do we specify years of experience in a job description or ask a candidate for their current remuneration package. We concentrate on the benchmark of a role and comparator data rather than previous salaries to drive our pay decisions and avoid perpetuating pay disparities. Interview panels are diverse for all manager, director, Extended Leadership Team and Leadership Team positions.

Our short-term goal is to have a 40% minimum of either gender at Extended Leadership Team and Leadership Team level combined, currently this is 41% for women and 59% for men. Our published long-term goal is to maintain this and improve to a gender balanced (50/50) Extended Leadership Team and Leadership Team gender split by 2025.

Achieving this target not only depends on fair recruitment practices but also developing internal female talent. Access to our “Contributor to Manager” and “Manager to Leader” talent development schemes is open to all staff with fair assessment criteria. For the scheme year January 2020 to January 2021, our “Contributor to Manager” cohort comprised 76% women and 80% of our “Manager to Leader” cohort for November 2019 to April 2021 were women.

Covid-19 pandemic

The Women in Work Index 2021, a study by strategy& (Part of the PwC Network) identified that women were losing their jobs faster than men were across the OECD in 2020 and, because the pandemic has amplified differences in childcare responsibilities, more women than men were choosing to exit the workforce during the pandemic.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve responded to changing requirements in countries where our colleagues are based. Offices have been closed in response to government guidelines with all staff working from home. When there have been lockdowns and schools closed, we’ve recognised the challenges of home-schooling and working and have taken the following actions:

During the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, taking into consideration all leavers whether through restructuring or voluntary attrition, the percentage of men and women in the organisation has not changed from FY19 or FY20. Women made up 49% and men made up 51% of redundancies; and 56% of resignations came from women, with 44% coming from men.

Pledging our Commitment

We have committed to the UN’s Women Empowerment Principles; EQUALS; The Valuable 500; and The Halo Code. Some initiatives include:

At the GSMA, we are committed to creating a transparent, diverse, and inclusive culture, where everyone, regardless of their background, race, ethnicity, disability or gender, has an equal opportunity to thrive.

We want to create an organisation that attracts and retains the best people so we can continue to advance the mobile industry and deliver impact for our members, now and into the future. To find out more about diversity and what it’s like to work at the GSMA please visit our Careers page.

CFO Louise Easterbrook signature
Louise Easterbrook
Chief Financial Officer, GSMA

Click here to view Gender Pay Gap Report 2019
Click here to view Gender Pay Gap Report 2018
Click here to view Gender Pay Gap Report 2017

1 Due to a change in the GSMA’s HR system, we are now able to report on this data in March rather than October