It has been reported this week that almost eight in 10 business within the UK still pay their male employees more than females. Despite gender pay reporting becoming compulsory for all companies, charities and public sector organisations with over 250 employees in 2017, the UK’s pay gap remained largely unchanged in 2018. There has been virtually no change in the UK’s gender pay gap between the first and second year of reporting.
The answer to this can be somewhat complex – for example, in many businesses, there is an underlying imbalance between the number of males and females in occupational silos, and their experience and levels of seniority. It is not always the case that men and women simply being paid differently for exactly the same role.
However, it could also be argued that many employers could have made better progress by now. With the first report on gender pay not required until 2018, some businesses took advantage of utilising a full year to collect and report on the data, and then were surprised at the scale of the problem that their reports ultimately revealed.
Many employers would argue that 12 months is not long enough to change company cultures which might be traditionally male-focused, or to tackle what is often a deep-rooted problem with gender pay.
Research has shown that the construction industry currently has the widest gender pay gap, which stands at 24.2%. Other serial offenders include Gas, Electricity and Water at 12.3%, Finance at 24.1%, Information and Communication at 18.0%, and Public Safety at 12.8%.
In essence, specific, time-bound action plans can do a lot more than just identify the barriers holding women back in the workplace. They can also help to create an environment where female employees can flourish, as well as demonstrate to employees, customers and shareholders a commitment to improving working practices.