Tackling the gender pay gap

April 17, 2017

As new reporting requirements come into effect, a charity for women aged 16-30 on low or no pay, Young Women’s Trust, has called for further action to reduce the gender pay gap.

The charity is concerned that pay transparency, which is intended to encourage employers to reduce the gender pay gap, will not be effective unless there is enforcement and action plans to tackle any reported inequalities in pay.

From 6 April, firms with more than 250 employees must record pay data so they will be ready to report on their gender pay gap in 2018. Currently, there are no penalties for firms that do not comply and they are not compelled to close this gap. The new legislation will therefore only be effective if the government penalises firms that fail to report their pay gaps accurately.

Some companies have already volunteered the information – fund managers Schroders was the first FTSE100 company to go public. What were the figures? Fixed pay for the group’s female staff was 33% lower on average than for their male staff – and there was a bonus gap of 66%. This may be accounted for by the fact that there are more men in senior roles at the firm (as is the case with most companies in the financial services sector).

In the name of transparency, more than 9,000 companies employing about 15 million people will have to measure and report how they pay men and women, and this will affect nearly half the British workforce. Although it has been illegal for 40 years to pay men and women different salaries for doing the same job, the overall gender pay gap in Britain still stands at 18%. This may be more telling about the number of women in senior management roles than anything else. Is your firm monitoring its gender pay policies, regardless of size?

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