How to tackle the gender pay gap


How can the gender pay gap be closed? A report published by the Government Equalities Office and Deloitte outlines best practice in tackling the gap, which is caused by lack of career progression by women to top roles.

The report, Trailblazing Transparency: Mending the Gap, says the Government is committed to closing the gender pay gap – currently standing at 19.2% – in a generation.

Outlining the different pay rates in different sectors and roles, it states that one of the main challenges is the pay gap among women over 40 which is 25.5%.

It points out that the gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay for equal work. It is about lower paid jobs being more likely to be filled by women than men.

It states: “We know that too few women get to the top and too few work in the more lucrative professions and sectors (like Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, for example). We also know that women are much more likely than men to take time out of the labour market to start a family, look after children or other family members and that there is a lack of well paid part-time work available to men and women. Other contributing factors include constrained individual choice, corporate cultures, unconscious bias and discrimination.”

Flexible working accounts for much of the gap for women with children. For their main job, women are over three times more likely to be working part-time than men and statistics quoted show full-time workers get around £13.29 per hour, compared to part-time workers who get on average £8.44 per hour.

It’s not just flat rate pay that is an issue. According to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) male managers are still more likely to get a bonus than female managers, who only make up around 34% of senior managers. This can be for a variety of reasons since bonuses vary quite significantly according to sector.

The report cites research from a range of different organisations, including the Agile Future Forum, on what causes the gender pay gap.

It says the way to tackle the gap is through greater transparency and communication of what any published figures mean since the issues can be quite complex. The main thrust of the report in sharing best practice by some of the leading employers.

The report also highlights the Government’s Think, Act, Report initiative to which almost 300 organisations, collectively employing over 2.5 million people, have signed up. They publish a broad range of information about what they are doing to strengthen the equality of opportunity for women in the workplace. The report says: “Their experience is a useful resource for employers in preparation for the new gender pay reporting requirements, providing good practice for other companies to draw upon once the new regulations have commenced.”

Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women and Equalities, says: “Greater transparency is key to accelerating progress because it shines a light on the challenges, necessitates action and drives change. Britain is joining a growing international community who are using greater transparency on gender equality issues to drive change. This is a turning point and an opportunity we must all seize.”

*For the full report, click here.

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