An analysis of those gender pay audits submitted this year – despite a six-month suspension – shows no movement since 2018, with concerns being raised that those who have reported are likely to be the more progressive employers.
The gender pay gap has not moved in the last two years, according to analysis by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development based on the small number of employers who have submitted data this year.
Last year the Government suspended the legal requirement for large employers to submit gender pay audits and this year it has suspended the requirement for six months. Usually employers have to submit the information in April based on a snapshot survey in the preceeding April.
The number of employers reporting their pay data has fallen in the wake of the suspension of enforcement action, from 10,833 organisations in 2018 to 6,150 in 2019 and 2,440 in 2020.
The CIPD’s analysis found that the median gender pay gap was 12.8% or, alternatively, for every £1 the median male worker earned the median female worker earned 87 pence. By contrast, in 2019 women received 86 pence while in 2018 they got 87 pence for every £1 a man earned.
Charles Cotton, senior reward and performance adviser at the CIPD, said: “We are now into our fifth year of gender pay gap reporting and there has been markedly little change in the figures. This is to be expected, however, given improvements can’t be made overnight and some of the measures employers have taken to close their gender pay gap may well initially result in it widening.
“However, we are more concerned by the sharp drop in employers who have so far chosen to report their figures this year. While this is not that surprising given enforcement action has been delayed by six months, it does raise questions about the commitment of some employers to tackling their gender pay gap…With the pandemic disproportionately affecting women financially, it’s even more of an imperative for employers to ensure gender pay reporting returns to the top of their agenda.”
Mandy Garner from workingmums.co.uk said: “The main concern is the numbers reporting last year and that those who did report are likely to be employers who are more committed to doing something about the gender pay gap. Therefore the lack of movement is all the more worrying.”
She added that the impact of the pandemic, in particular two periods of homeschooling and childcare, has yet to feed into the figures and said it was all the more important for employers to report their statistics so that this can be monitored and addressed. She stated: “I fear we are only just beginning to see that impact in terms of women leaving or losing jobs or not applying for promotion, for example, because of the extra pressure they have been under during the pandemic when it comes to caring responsibilities.”