The UK’s Gender Pay Gap

As you’re likely aware, the Gender Pay Gap refers to the average difference between the remuneration for men and women in a working environment. This concept highlights the fact that women are generally paid less than men.

In April 2018, the UK Government ruled that companies with over 250 employees must report and publish their Gender Pay Gap report. The report needs to be publicly available on their own company website, as well as the government site.

Ultimately, this legislation resulted in the public finally having access to documented, factual data that proves that overall women are paid less than men in the UK, and have been for the last two years at least.

2019 Results

With the latest reports due in April 2019, the government has found that:

·         Nearly 8 in 10 UK companies pay men more than women
·         ¼ of companies have a pay gap of more than 20% in favour of men
·         There was very little improvement from the following year’s report

– the median pay gap in favour of men lowered slightly (reduced by 0.1%)

Overall, the report highlighted that 78% of companies had a pay gap in favour of men, 14% favoured women and the rest reported no difference.


What does it mean?

This has highlighted the fact that although mandatory reporting is holding businesses more accountable, most organisations tend to be publishing their findings and stopping there. Therefore, overall there hasn’t been a notable change or ‘significant shift’ towards closing the gap. Over the last year, there have even been companies whose gaps have dramatically widened.

However, these seemingly negative results don’t necessarily mean that any companies are doing anything illegal or purposely paying men and women in the same positions differently. It more likely eludes to the fact that women aren’t progressing through organisations and are occupying the lower level, lower salary roles. This could also be because women are being overlooked for senior positions. Therefore, businesses need to undertake a deeper change whereby more women are given the opportunity to progress through the business and prove they’re the best person for the job. This could involve providing more training opportunities, ensuring more women are put forward for promotions or setting measurable hiring targets.

Some experts believe that the uncertainty around Brexit has also stunted progress in reducing the gender pay gap. As many UK organisations are uncertain of hiring conditions and how their businesses will be affected by leaving the EU, actioning pay gap initiatives from the report has become a non-priority.


Gender pay reporting is different from equal pay

It is important to note that gender pay reporting refers to analysing the workforce as a whole and determining what the gap is between what men and women are paid. Whereas equal pay, or an equal pay audit, refers to the difference between men and women who perform the same or very similar jobs – which is illegal. Women and men who are doing the same job, cannot be paid differently because of their gender.


It’s not all bad news

Although there is still a long way to go, some companies are making significant strides towards closing the gap completely. For example, Monzo Bank reduced their gap from 48% to 14% from 2018 to 2019. Interserve‘s (catering services division) went from a 31.6% to 11.1%, and also reported a pay gap of 15.6%, down from 24.6%.


What can you do?

A few ways that companies could work towards reducing the gap would be to:

  • Hire more women
  • Encourage all employees, especially more junior women, to undertake learning and development
  • Include more flexible working options
  • Implement shared parental leave
  • Subsidise childcare
  • Offer mentoring programs for women by women
  • Implement and be held accountable to targets, including diversity in management
  • Eliminating negotiations – US-based company Salesforce has banned the practice
  • Reduce unconscious bias in hiring


If you have a gender pay gap, what initiatives are your organisation implementing in order to reduce the gap? Let us know!

If you have managed to reduce your pay gap, please get in touch, we’d love to share your story.



Gender Pay Gap Service

Gender pay gap figures show eight in 10 UK firms pay men more than women


Author: Melanie Beckham

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