September 30, 2015
Over half of respondents to a new report into the gender pay gap are doubtful that men and women working at the same level or doing similar work earn the same – even though unequal pay is unlawful. Most of those who took part in the survey believe that employers should publish not only their overall gender pay gap but also pay data broken down by grade and job type. The new report by Business in the Community found that closing the gap matters to employees and its extent may impact how people feel about their employer, with respondents saying they may use publicly available data to inform decision making about their career. However, they would not act impulsively – instead employees want to discuss the pay gap openly with their employer, understand its causes and find out what action their employer is taking.
The UK’s gender pay gap is 19.1 percent, which means on average for every £1 a man earns, a woman earns 81p. To help close the gender pay gap, the government is creating new regulations under Section 78 of the Equality Act (2010), which will require large organisations with more than 250 employees to publicly report on how much they pay their male and female staff. The idea is that greater transparency will force businesses to take action to close their gender pay gap and accelerate the pace of change towards gender equality.
The government is mid-consultation to understand how best to implement the Section 78 regulations. However, limited research has been done to date to understand the views of employees. The survey of more than 1,000 women and men, and asked them to share their thoughts on gender pay gap reporting, the reasons for the pay gap, their attitudes towards employers, and how they may react to their own employer’s pay gap.
Two thirds of women believe that there is a gender pay gap in their organisation. Commenting on their answers, female participants recounted personal experiences of pay difference, pay discrimination and unfair treatment in comparison with their male peers.
They suspect that there is a gender pay gap but want to know how big it is. Participants questioned the lack of transparency, access to data as well as information, and challenged the culture of pay secrecy potentially preventing them from contesting unequal pay.
When asked to identify the main causes of the gender pay gap, women are more likely to think that it is due to individual choices; they are inclined to think that it is their fault if they do not get the same salary as their male counterparts. 2 in 3 women think that the main reason for the gender pay gap is that women tend to be less demanding in pay reviews and negotiations.
93 percent of respondents think that employers should have to publish their overall gender pay gap and 90 percent think that the data should be broken down for each pay grade or job type. To date, fewer than 10 organisations in the UK publish their overall gender pay gap – a fraction of the 7,000 organisations that will be expected to publish their pay data under the new legislation.
However, employees would greatly value this transparency and believe that pay gap data must be published in order to create accountability and comparability between organisations and sectors.
To view the whole report click here.