Minding the gender pay gap: How to create a more equal workplace

Forty-seven organisations that have failed to report their latest gender pay gap figures have been named by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).


The regulator has told the organisations that it will begin investigations and assessments to determine whether they are breaking the law by withholding their gender pay gaps.


If they are, they will be required to publish the figures immediately.


Since changes to the Equality Act came into force in April 2017, companies with more than 250 employees have been legally required to report their gender pay gap figures by the end of the financial year.


The deadline for this year was 30 March for public bodies, and 4 April for private companies.


What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is the average difference between hourly wages for men and women. Having a large gender pay gap can be indicative of discrimination and a lack of opportunities for women to progress within the organisation.


It should not be confused with equal pay. This requires workers of both sexes to be paid the same for ‘like work’, and not doing so is illegal.


What causes the gender pay gap?

Women generally play a greater role in caring for children or for elderly relatives. As a result, they tend to work fewer hours, are paid less and have fewer opportunities to be promoted.


Even exercising a right such as taking maternity leave can create an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. An employer who places greater emphasis on presenteeism rather than actual performance may prefer to promote someone who’s often visible in the office, rather than the person who’d actually be best for the role.


The number of hours women work is a major reason behind the gender pay gap. According to the Office of National Statistics, there are more than three times as many women working part-time than men, and part-time jobs tend to be lower paid.


Women are also still more likely to be in low paid, low skilled jobs in sectors such as care and leisure, and have administrative and secretarial jobs. Men hugely outnumber women in skilled trades.


How to close the gender pay gap

Here are some tips for a more equal workplace:


Pay people the same – if an employee is being paid less for ‘like work’ than another, then immediately raise their wage.


Break the glass ceiling – if there is a discrepancy between the number of men and women in senior positions, work towards creating a greater balance. Set quotas and a timeline for making it happen.


Recruitment – use non-gender specific language in job advertisements. Make sure the adverts are easily able to be found by diverse range of candidates.


Workplace culture – consider whether your organisation has a culture of long or unsociable hours. Would this be a setback to employees who have families to look after?


Embrace flexible working – women are more likely to work part-time. Allow all employees to work flexibly, and judge them on their output rather than whether they’re visible in the office or not.


Deminos can help

Deminos can advise on how to create a fair, equal workplace where everyone has the same opportunities. For more information, call 020 7870 1090.


You can learn more about how to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 with our Equality, Diversity and Discrimination eLearning course. Try the first module for free here: www.deminos.co.uk/e-learning

Author David Ralph

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