• In January of this year, I discussed what trends we are seeing in the gender pay gap and what it can mean for businesses if they have a large gender pay gap. However, half a year on, is there a greater concern that businesses do not understand what the gender pay gap is?

    A recent YouGov survey has found that only one third of the British public are able to correctly identify what the gender pay gap is. Interestingly, it revealed that women in their 30’s appeared as the least likely to know what the gender pay gap is.

    A key misunderstanding appears to be the difference between equal pay and the gender pay gap. In basic terms, equal pay relates to a man and woman receiving the same pay for work of the same or equivalent kind. It is a legal requirement for companies to give equal pay for equal work. The gender pay gap, on the other hand, is a measure of the difference between men and women’s average earnings across an organisation expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. The latter does not compare ‘like for like’ jobs but all jobs across an organisation.

    If the campaign to reduce the gender pay gap is going to be successful, it is paramount that the gender pay gap and what it means is understood by schools, by employers and by the wider public. The gender pay gap is not always as clear to spot as equal pay and this is why it is important that companies publish their statistics and that they do so accurately. There can be many causes for a gender pay gap including the highest paid sectors being male-dominated, negative stereotypes and a lack of support and understanding for part time and flexible working.

    Queries have been raised over whether the current gender pay gap reporting requirements go far enough. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee have recently stated that only half of the UK workforce is covered by the current reporting requirements and that this doesn’t go far enough. We will wait to see whether these suggestions are implemented.

    Reporting your gender pay gap is an annual requirement for affected businesses. If you require advice or support in providing your gender pay gap statistics, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment Team.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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