The first round of gender pay gap reporting was certainly big news in 2018. Last year in line with the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, over 10,500 companies reported their gender pay gap figures. By the deadline of 4 April 2018 just over 94% of companies had reported.
According to an article by Ruth Thomas, a Senior Consultant at Curo Compensation, on 2 January 2019 called Gender pay gap reporting: How to get it right for 2019:
“Those figures showed that women’s mean hourly pay was 14.3% lower than men’s and that only 12% of reporting companies had a pay gap in favour of women.”
Basically what this means is that if you are a working woman in the UK you are probably working for a company which pays men more than women. It is quite shocking that women are still underpaid compared to men.
Ruth Thomas also points out that “The reality is that the numbers are not going to be better this year as most of the issues driving pay gaps require a longer-term view.”
The government’s thinking is in line with this as it has said it expects most employers to take five years to come to terms with the legislation and demonstrate real progress.
The gender pay gap is a problem which is deeply ingrained in our society. It has existed since women entered the workforce. It affects women in every occupation and industry and it persists despite women outpacing males in education. To close the gap, what has to be addressed is traditional male/female role divisions, as unconscious bias is rampant in the workplace. There is also a lack of female representation at senior levels and the question must be asked why women tend to work in lower paid roles.
Some companies are considering setting targets which can keep them focused and make decisions to improve their results. Many companies are seeking diversity in senior management, and examining their hiring processes.
Ms Thomas comments “While the first year reporting was all about the numbers, this year employers are coming to terms with the necessity to embrace the need for change and set goals in order to demonstrate how diversity is a business imperative for them.”