By Kate Brown
The gender pay gap is the percentage difference between average hourly earnings for men and women. UK companies who employ 250+ people were required to publish their gender pay gap on a government website by 4 April 2018 (or 30 March 2018 for the public sector).
Why is there a gender pay gap?
Gender pay gaps can arise for a number of reasons. For example, according to The Fawcett Society women are more likely to be in part-time roles due to caring responsibilities (i.e. having young children) which may explain the lower pay. An additional consideration is the divided labour market, whereby women typically work in lower-skilled and lower-paid careers.
The Living Wage Foundation finds women make up 62% of those earning less than the average living wage. Men also typically work in the most senior roles of a company which are higher paid. Lastly, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR) found that discrimination is another cause of the gender pay gap with findings showing 1 in 9 new mothers were dismissed, made redundant or left their job due to poor treatment.
More than three quarters of employers pay men more than women
Final figures from more than 10,000 UK companies revealed that 78% of employers pay men more on average than women, 14% pay women more on average than men, and 8% reported no pay gap between men and women. The median pay gap among these companies was 9.7%.
Large companies who reported some of the greatest gender pay gaps (between 35% and 50%) included: Barclays Bank; Lloyds Bank; Standard Life Investments; British Gas Services; Aberdeen Asset Manager; RBS; Academies Enterprise Trust; Aramark; Galliford Try; Balfour Beatty Group.
Chief of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Rebecca Hilsenrath, told the BBC “We’re looking at approximately 1,500 companies which haven’t reported”. EHRC said they can prosecute large companies who have not reported their gender pay gap details by yesterday’s deadline.
How can we close the gender pay gap?
The BBC outlined a number of ways to narrow the gender pay gap:
- Allow better childcare access for women
- Have better recruitment processes which highlight whether the job is female-friendly
- Move towards greater salary transparency
- Support paternity leave
- Set targets which promise to have a set number of women in senior roles
- Pay women more
- Provide better training to encourage women to seek a promotion
- Change the culture of the workplace
- Encourage girls to play more sport at a young age to build self-esteem
Are you surprised by the government’s finding that more than three quarters of employers pay their male staff more than their female employees? Have you had any direct experience of the gender pay gap? We’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below or join the conversation Linkedin and Twitter.