Four years since companies in the UK began revealing salary data, the art world’s gender pay gap remains
However, a spokesperson for Bonhams points out that the 2020/21 figures are a “snapshot” of all UK employees on full pay on 5 April 2020, which skewed the firm’s figures—only 16 staff (all technology or gallery staff) were left on full salary in the UK that day. “At that time, 99.9% of staff were either on furlough or had taken reduced hours with reduced salaries,” she says. Sotheby’s and Christie’s figures were not similarly affected; Sotheby’s says it had not yet introduced furlough measures by 5 April 2020, while Christie’s topped up all furlough payments but its figures would have been skewed by salary reductions at the time, although these were later repaid in full. (Bonhams did not top up furlough salaries).Worldwide, Bonhams is doing much better. In 2020, 70% of its new hires were women; while the firm also established a leadership team in the US, of which 89% are women. As a result, in 2020/21, the global pay gap closed by 7.1% dropping from 33.5% in the last survey to 26.4%. The percentage of women in the upper quartile also increased from 8.7% to 46.7%.