If you can cast your minds back to April, 2018, you may remember the Gender Pay Gap reporting, where UK businesses submitted their salary details for male and female staff across the board. This was, in part, triggered by the shocking findings of the BBC’s equal pay audit and gender pay report, which revealed:
“The report, which was independently verified by Ernst and Young, concluded that BBC Worldwide’s overall gender pay gap was 16.9% on a median basis (18.9% using mean pay). These figures are comparable to the UK median of 18.1%. Further analysis reveals that 14.5% of the company’s mean gender pay gap of 18.9% is driven by more men holding senior roles and more women in junior positions. The report also notes that once the structural issue has been taken into account, the mean gender pay gap would be 4.4%.”
I think you’ll agree, the findings are quite staggering. But what does this mean on a more granular level, and how can businesses look to address this issue and tackle the causes of the pay gap? First, let’s take a closer look at the findings of both 2018 and 2019.
Nationwide report findings – 2018
The gender pay gap figures revealed that 8/10 organisations and public-sector bodies paid women more. The data indicated a 9.8% median pay gap overall, and showed that women were being paid a median hourly rate that, on average, was 9.7% less than their male colleagues.
The nationwide gender pay gap audit was the most comprehensive to ever be collected in the country. It revealed the UK’s best and worst-performing employers in both the public and private sector, and that 90% of women worked for companies that paid them less than their male counterparts.
You can search the data (by company name), or alternatively, submit your own data here.
Nationwide report findings – 2019
A detailed summary of the 2019 data can be found in a report published by the CIPD here. The main findings listed include:
- Median gender pay gaps have not changed much by industry. The highest median gender pay gaps exist in Construction (24.35) and Finance (23.9).
- Some industries, such as Hospitality (Accommodation and Food Services), have very low gender pay gaps (median of 0.6), which might be because of the high proportion of both men and women on the minimum wage.
- The median proportion of women receiving a bonus was 17.4%, whereas it’s 19.3% for men.
2019: still a long way to go
One positive that’s emerged from the gender pay gap findings, is that we’re now talking about an issue that’s previously been ignored or hidden from those most affected. Employers have started paying attention and looking at the differences in men and women’s pay within their own organisation. But this is only the start.
Has enough progress been made in the workplace to ensure the pay gap is decreasing? Sam Smethers, CEO of the leading gender equality campaigning party, Fawcett Society, released the following statement in April 2019:
“One year on, it is disappointing, but not surprising, that there are so many employers in the UK with large pay gaps and that these pay gaps aren’t being closed. The regulations are not tough enough. It’s time for action plans not excuses.
What can employers do to help bridge the gap?
In some industries the gap is so significant, it’s hard to know where to begin. But the good news is, there are so many ways employers can work to tackle the causes of the pay gap. This includes the following:
- Encourage shared parental leave (SPL), so women and men have equal access to work opportunities as working parents
- Offer childcare vouchers, to lessen the costs of getting support while at work
- Introduce more generous leave for fathers that they can afford to take
- Make every job flexible by default, unless there is a strong business case not to do so
- Deal with any outstanding pay discrimination that employers may find.
Working towards a fairer, more equal workforce
Whether you have experienced the gender discrimination firsthand or not, raising awareness of equality issues is a positive step towards reducing any gaps in the workplace. The primary concern of any employer should be to get the most talented people to the top, irrespective of gender, age, race or sexuality or otherwise.