100% of UK employers publish gender pay gap data
For the first time ever, 100% of UK employers identified as being in the scope of gender pay gap regulations have published their data.
The UK is one of the few countries in the world to require employers to publish such comprehensive gender pay gap data.
Under new regulations that came into force in April 2017, all employers with over 250 employees are required to report their gender pay gap data. All 10,000 UK employers that the government has identified as having over 250 workers have now published their data.
The data has shown that more than three out of four in-scope UK companies pay their male staff more on average than their female staff, more than half give higher bonuses to men, on average, than women, and over 80% have more women in their lowest paid positions than in their highest paid positions.
The Government Equalities Office has also published a new ‘What Works’ guidance for companies to help them improve the recruitment and progression of women and close their gender pay gap.
Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt, said:
“It is appalling that in the 21st century there is still a big difference between the average earnings of men and women. While I am encouraged that over 10,000 employers have published their data, these figures set out in real terms for the first time some of the challenges and the scale of this issue.
“We need to take action to ensure businesses know how they can make use of their best talent and make their gender pay gaps a thing of the past.”
Sheila Flavell, Chief Operating Officer, FDM Group, a global professional services provider with a focus on IT, said:
“At FDM, diversity and equality have always been our core values and we are proud once again to report a zero per cent gender pay gap for the second year in a row. Achieving this required a huge effort at all levels of the organisation, including major initiatives such as our women returners and graduate recruitment programmes, which help women train and enter the world of technology. We also had honest conversations about senior pay, job roles and increased opportunities for flexible working initiatives to ensure strong representation of women at the top of the company.”
Fiona Dawson, Global President of Mars Food, said:
“Delighted to see the launch of the Government Equalities Office, ‘What Works’ guidance and to see that the evidence-based recommendations within it echo so many of those made by the Women’s Business Council particularly in relation to the importance of flexible, agile and dynamic working.
“The gender pay gap regulations and first year of reporting has focused the attention of the businesses community and its leaders on understanding the causes behind their organisations’, and sector’s, gender gaps and the importance of putting into place practical solutions and actions to tackle their causes. Supportive guidance such as this document and best practice case studies of what has worked are vital for organisations to now take the next step in ensuring their staff have the same access to opportunity regardless of their gender.”
Equality and Human Rights Commission Chief Executive, Rebecca Hilsenrath, said:
“Building on the work by the Government Equalities Office, our enforcement approach has proved to be successful, resulting in full compliance by all those considered to be in scope.
“We have been clear that it is not only the right thing to do but that we would use all our enforcement powers where employers failed to report. They have taken our warnings seriously and avoided costly court action. We will now be turning our attention to the accuracy of reporting.”
The ‘What Works’ advice to employers published by the Government Equalities Office includes recommendations to:
- assess candidates based on actual tasks they would be expected to perform in their role, and make interviews more structured to avoid unfair bias creeping in;
- encourage salary negotiation by showing salary ranges, as women are currently less likely to negotiate their pay than men; and
- introduce transparency to pay, promotion and reward processes.
The news comes just days after the publication of a report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee on gender pay gap reporting. The much-reported highlight was the proposal to widen the scope of the Regulations to include all organisations with 50 or more employees, in contrast to the current scope of 250+.
Says Tar Tumber, Director, Employee Relations:
“Despite a continued focus on gender equality and discrimination elimination, the gender pay gap reporting results from April have highlighted the significant disparity in the average pay of women and men across all business sectors. It remains a cause for concern that although legal frameworks require parity of pay, organisations can still ‘afford’ to pay women less than their male counterparts. Historical and cultural attitudes towards women do not help – the traditional view that ‘mum’ should stay at home with baby really does result in a pregnancy penalty which is very difficult to reverse. Unconscious bias also plays a huge role in the perception of women in more strategic and senior roles. Crucially, women themselves are deemed less assertive in their approach to pay negotiations, often favouring other factors such as flexible working as more important – again leaning towards the traditional role of raising the family rather than equal breadwinner. I would certainly agree with the report’s suggestions to address the gender pay gap, specifically in relation to requiring organisations with 50 or more staff to report on their gender pay gap in 2019; and also for the Government to take more action to tackle the ‘grass roots’ attitudes from educational bias to financial penalties for companies who don’t take action to reduce the gap they have identified this time round.”