Twenty-nine per cent of senior managers in UK businesses do not see the gender pay gap as an issue for businesses, according to research by HR and payroll provider NGA Human Resources.
Those who do recognise the gender pay gap as an issue believe the external effects on an organisation create the biggest problems – these include bad publicity (40%), brand damage (34%) and recruitment obstacles (33%). Challenges such as retaining staff (26%) and pay rise demands (20%) are viewed as secondary issues for businesses.
In addition, many of those questioned stated that they believed that the gender pay gap was partly due to women’s personal career decisions. The fact that women are more likely to take career breaks (49%) or work part time (42%) are identified as the main factors for pay disparities. Other reasons for the gender pay gap are the lack of representation of women in the overall workforce (20%) and fewer women in senior management positions (27%).
Despite Government initiatives such as gender pay audits, only 17% of decision makers surveyed believe that regulations on gender splits will reduce the divide. Some 20% of organisations said they will not be ready to disclose their data on time, let alone review remuneration packages as a result.
To combat the gender pay gap, pay levelling is seen as the number one solution (57%). There is also significant support for back-to-work schemes (49%) and positive recruitment programmes, such as the Government’s budget funding for ‘returnships’ (47%).
“It is cause for concern that a significant proportion of business leaders still do not take the gender pay gap seriously. Whilst compulsory reporting is imminent, progress towards closing the gap will only be made if firms are prepared to put in place meaningful programmes. The Government’s recent funding for ‘returnships’ is a step in the right direction, yet it is up to individual businesses to develop them if the pay gap is to be reduced for good. By addressing their pay gap, organisations will not just have good figures to report on paper, but the commercial benefits of a diverse and fairly remunerated workforce, improving performance, productivity and profitability,” said Geoff Pearce, Managing Consultant – Reward at NGA HR.
Other findings from the research include:
The survey, conducted by 3Gem on behalf of NGA HR, questioned 250 senior decision makers within UK businesses to whom gender pay gap reporting will apply when new regulations come into play in April.