The latest controversy at the BBC around gender pay highlights ongoing issues facing UK employers on gender pay equality.
However, businesses with over 250 employees have less than three months to report their gender pay and bonus gaps under legislation that sets an April 2018 publication date. Are they ready?
Only a small number of employers have so far complied with the gender pay gap reporting regulations. But an XpertHR survey of 288 employers found that many are waiting to see what other companies in their sector do before publishing – or want there to be a large number of reports in the public domain before they release their own figures.
Despite this, more than one in four mid-sized companies (those with 250-999 employees) and more than half of larger companies (with over 1,000 employees) have already calculated their pay gaps but without yet making them public.
“The BBC finds itself at the centre of the gender pay inequality debate again this week, but it’s something that many of the UK’s larger companies are going to have to start addressing,” XpertHR content director Mark Crail said.
While pay inequality and the gender pay gap are not necessarily the same thing, there seems to be a widely spread notion that the two terms are interchangeable.
“Pay inequality is where individuals doing the same or similar jobs are paid differently; a gender pay gap is more likely to reflect structural issues such as a shortage of women in senior roles, or occupational segregation, in which men and women tend to be concentrated, in particular the types of jobs,” Crail explained.
But employees are unlikely to draw that distinction and their first reaction to seeing gender pay gap data for their organisation will be to ask why it appears to discriminate between men and women.
“Employers face a huge risk to their reputations as fair and equal employers. Rather than leaving it until the last minute, they should be ensuring that their data is accurate, the calculations are in line with the legislation and that the reporting requirements can be met,” Crail added.
“HR departments should use the next few weeks wisely to really understand their own organisation’s gender pay gap and to develop a clear message to employees and the outside world about why it exists and what they are going to do about it.”
The survey found that as a result of calculating and reporting their gender pay gaps, organisations were most likely to:
- Conduct further analysis (65.6 per cent);
- Develop an action plan to close the gap (45.8 per cent);
- Review recruitment processes (27.1 per cent);
- Review promotion processes (21.9 per cent); and
- Review pay levels for men and women (17.7 per cent).
Just one in six (16.7 per cent) said that having calculated and reported their gender pay gap, they were likely to take no further action.