It has been interesting to read the different news coverage relating to the UK Gender Pay Gap data. The new regulations came into force in April 2017 and the first deadline to report has passed.
On the one hand it is good news that all of the 10,000 UK employers with over 250 employees have now published their data albeit some slightly late!! Plus the UK now has some formal data to analyse and which has been supplied by employers.
On the other hand some of the data undoubtedly carries some worrying information.
According to a report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee ‘The UK has one of the highest gender pay gaps in Europe and pay reporting can only be the first step to closing it’.
What is worrying is the data and what it seems to be disclosing. The results do show that on average women do earn less then men and far fewer women reach the most senior posts.
It says the median pay across the economy is 18% in favour of men. The report states that gender pay gaps of over 40% are not uncommon in some sectors. The Committee are therefore recommending widening the number of companies needing to report and also for companies to publish their action plans to address any gender pay gap imbalance. As part of the report of the widening, the select committee are calling on the Government to extend to employers with 50 or more employees. They recommend that the threshold remains at 250 employees next year but the following year reduced to organisations with 50 or more employees.
The report does acknowledge that the early signs are that most organisations have engaged constructively to the new reporting and compliance is very good.
It will be an area which will need organisations to fully understand their workforce and the pay mechanism within it. With strong leadership and commitment organisations should be able to address any issues which they identify. The report does provide examples where companies are proactively addressing any imbalance they may have.
For many people this is a step in the right direction for our economy. It will be good to ensure we encourage and grow diversity within the UK workforce to enhance the UK’s economic performance.
The full report including recommendations can be read on the www.parliament.uk website