‘57% don’t perceive gender pay gap at their workplace’

A new CIPHR survey shows most British workers are likely to underestimate their employer’s gender pay gap, with as many as 57% of people saying there is no gender pay gap where they work.

Illustration of gender pay gap with money and seesaw - FTSE100 directors


Despite most British workers agreeing that the UK has a gender pay gap, as many as 57% don’t believe there are any gender pay disparities in their own workplaces, according to new research.

HR software provider CIPHR’s poll of 1,000 UK employees, found only a third of people (36%) think their employer has a gender pay gap in favour of men, and one in fourteen people (7%) think it’s vice versa – in favour of women. Most people (59% of women and 52% of men) perceive no pay gap at the organisation that they work for at all.

Non-management staff (64% of survey respondents) are among the most likely to say that their employer has no pay gap (61%). Over half of people (52%) occupying senior management positions, such as owners, CEOs, CFOs, C-level executives, and HR managers – who may be best placed to know this information, report that their organisation does have a gender pay gap (45% in favour of men and 7% in favour of women).

The survey also found only 5% of respondents accurately stated what the current gender pay gap is – 15 or 16% – compared to a third people who thought it was over 50%.

When it comes to job hunting, however, people are much less likely to accept pay gaps – perceived or otherwise. Most women (58%) say they wouldn’t apply for a job with an organisation that has a gender pay gap (compared to 38% of men). Women are also more likely to be averse to working for an organisation that has an ethnicity pay gap, compared to men (54% and 37% respectively). For black women that figure rises to 57%, and for Asian women it’s 71% (the average for all workers is 47% and for workers from ethnic minority backgrounds it’s 52%).

Only half of all survey respondents (51%) believe that their employer is transparent about its promotion, pay, and reward processes and policies. However, there is a gap in perceptions. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of senior managers, such as owners, CEOs, CFOs, C-level executives, and HR managers, think their organisation’s processes and policies are completely clear. But only 47% of non-management staff (who make up 64% of all survey respondents) agree. They are also more likely to report that they are unsure (27%) about these processes and policies, compared to just 13% of bosses.

Nevertheless, over two-thirds of people believe that gender pay gap reporting and ethnicity pay gap reporting should be mandatory for all UK companies regardless of their size (69% and 61% respectively).

Other findings include that only a third (33%) of respondents would tell their colleagues and co-workers what they earn and only one in six people (16%) say they discuss their current salaries with potential new employers or recruiters.

Claire Williams, director of people and services at CIPHR, says: “It’s interesting to see that so many people trust their employers not to have a gender pay gap – particularly when so many do and when this information is publicly available on the government website: https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk. These results highlight the importance of reporting and communicating gender pay gap figures – and what they mean – to employees, however employers should use the gender pay gap reporting legislation as an opportunity to really use the data to drive change within their organisation and not just as a ‘tick box’ exercise.”

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