A male CEO just made the ultimate ally move in support of closing the gender pay gap — and we are so here for it.
Johan Lundgren, the new CEO of U.K. budget airline easyJet, announced on Monday (January 29) that he’s asked to receive the same pay rate as his female predecessor, Carolyn McCall, who left the company late last year. And it’s a move that’s earning him applause across the internet.
Of course, wishing to be paid the same amount as the person who previously held your position doesn’t necessarily sound newsworthy. But in Lundgren’s case, this request comes with a significant pay cut; when he accepted the job of easyJet CEO, in December 2017, his salary was reportedly £740,000 ($1,040,491). McCall, on the other hand, was leaving the company after eight years with a salary of £706,000 ($994,000) — or, nearly five percent less than Lundgren’s starting rate.
“At easyJet we are absolutely committed to giving equal pay and equal opportunity for women and men,” Lundgren said in a statement. “I want that to apply to everybody at easyJet and to show my personal commitment I have asked the board to reduce my pay to match that of Carolyn’s when she was at easyJet.”
Lundgren’s decision to take a £34,000 ($48,000) pay cut is especially noteworthy given the sizable gender pay gap that exists at easyJet more broadly. According to a report in the Financial Times, the airline has one of the widest pay gaps in the U.K., with male employees pocketing 52% more pay than females. This is largely due to men’s tendency to hold higher paying positions at easyJet — about 94 percent of pilots are male, a disparity that’s reflective of the aviation industry at large.
It’s a disparity that could be shrinking, though, if more men like Lundgren choose to lead by example. And for easyJet’s part, the company has also pledged to increase its number of female pilots to 20% by 2020.
“I want us not just to hit our target that 20 percent of our new pilots should be female by 2020, but to go further than this in the future,” Lundgren said.