‘Time running out for employers to close gender pay gap’

A new analysis shows it will take over 65 years to close the gender pay gap.

Gender Pay gap

Employers have aspirations to address their gender pay gap [GPG] in future

The gender pay gap has closed by just 0.2 percentage points since the gender pay audits were brought in, according to new analysis by XpertHR who say employers may be forced to draw up and publish action plans as a result.

XpertHR calculates that it will take more than 65 years to close the gap – meaning that babies born in 2019 will go through their entire working lives and be nearing retirement before the gender pay gap becomes a thing of the past.

The government has promised a review of the gender pay gap regulations after five years, but XpertHR says time is running out for employers.

XpertHR content director Mark Crail said: “Organisations that do not yet have a clear understanding of their own pay gap, and a plan for tackling it, really are setting themselves up for problems over the next two or three years.

“Employers need to understand what drives their pay gap – whether it is related to a simple lack of women in senior roles, or to deep-seated issues around for example occupational segregation or the effect of different length of service patterns – before they can come up with an action plan.

“So far, many have been able to point to genuine historical reasons for their problem, and there has been some sympathy for their position; but the clock is ticking and that sympathy is running out.”

He warned that employers needed to calculate their 5 April 2019 gender pay gap as soon as possible and not wait until the reporting deadline of April 2020 to do so.

“That would be another year wasted. Another year with no plan. Another year with no actions taken to close the gap. Another argument for forcing employers to act on the evidence.”

XpertHR suggests that a government review in 2022 could result in:

  • More detailed reporting requirements, with employers ordered to make public additional data and explanations for their pay gap;
  • Stronger enforcement powers, with the possibility of clearly set-out financial penalties for those failing to report adequately;
  • Compulsory requirements on employers to draw up and publish action plans with clear targets for closing the gender pay gap;
  • Stricter rules for companies doing business with the public sector to go above and beyond the legal minimum.


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