Gender pay gap: 74% of firms are paying lower salaries to women

Feb 23, 2018


By Kate Brown

Gender pay gap - Knowles Warwick

The gender pay gap is the percentage difference between average hourly earnings for men and women. UK companies who employ 250+ people are required to publish their gender pay gap on a government website by 4 April 2018 (or 30 March 2018 for the public sector). So far out of 9,047 companies, only 1,047 have complied and published their pay gap data online. Companies are also given the opportunity to include a narrative with their statistics in order to explain the reasons behind their results and what actions they are pursuing in order to work against the gender pay gap.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), women earned 18.4% less than men in April 2017, with 74% of firms paying lower salaries to female staff. Just 15% of companies stated they pay higher salaries to women, and 11% reported no difference to rates paid for either gender. Those companies with the largest gender pay gap in 2017 included banks such as Virgin Money and TSB, as well as airlines such as Easyjet. For example, Easyjet reported a pay gap of 45.5% stating this was due to the fact that many pilots are male whereas modestly paid cabin crew are predominantly female.

Although there is no reason behind the gender pay gap, The Fawcett Society state that women are more likely to be in part-time roles due to caring responsibilities (i.e. 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.

There are a minority of companies whereby the gender pay gap favours women. For instance, Three Rivers Council reports a 42% higher hourly rate for women than for men. Whereas, Diageo reports a pay gap favouring of 9.8% to women due to most sales and manufacturing roles being taken by men and the higher-paid office roles being taken by women.



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