It was thought that the Equal Pay Act 1970 would promote the issue of equal pay and opportunity to the forefront of public awareness; yet, organisations still face an issue regarding equality 40 years later.
Throwback to April 2016
“It is 2016. I am perplexed as to why it is acceptable for pay to be determined by gender.”
The introduction of The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, enforces organisations with 250 or more employees to start reviewing and publishing their six calculations. These calculations are introduced so that each organisation can demonstrate the current situation regarding gender equality.
Most importantly the regulation, has pushed the matter of equality to the forefront instigating employers and employees to consider the current issues.
Ten months has passed since the Gender Pay Reporting snapshot date.
In spite of the ten months window there are only 1000 organisation who have published their results and the majority of organisations are still to report: the pace is slow.
Why is this? Are organisations not prepared? Are they waiting to blend in? Are they seeing what their competitors are doing? Are they, perhaps, ashamed to share their results?
The deadline of the 4th of April 2018 is now fast approaching. In reality, this is less than 45 days: organisations need to get a move on.
Although I don’t believe the reporting requirements are the most appropriate way of calculating the equality issues, or do I believe it will drive the right behaviours, I do believe that the equality gap is significant.
The organisations that have reported claim the gender pay gap is because men predominantly occupy senior roles and women predominantly occupy lower-paid administrative roles. There is also a focus on cultural issues, as well as issues that have derived from the lack of women studying STEM (science, technology, engineering as mathematics) subjects.
Personally, I attribute the gap to:
– Implicit or unconscious bias whereby our brains make incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising
– Old fashioned employees and their prejudices.
– Maternity related factors such as: women returning to work in lower level roles after having a family to balance work and children, the lack of integration when women return to work, the missed opportunities due to having a family, and women usually being the main parent.
– Senior levels occupied by males.
– Lower paid roles dominated by females.
– Bonus schemes which award senior employees, who which are the majority male, more than the rest of the workforce
– Females taking salary sacrifice arrangements.
No matter the reason, there is an obvious and significant equality gap and we must do something about it.
So, what dies the future hold?
The April 2018 snapshot date will soon be here. Obviously, I am interested to see all the April 2018 results and they will provide an interesting insight into the progression of this situation.
However, with so few organisations only just reporting for the previous 2017 snapshot date, I am intrigued to see whether the data will shift by the time we reach April 2019, and what the progress of the initiatives to close the gap will look like. An analysis of this will follow.
So, is gender a stepping-stone to wider equality? Is the problem of equality restricted to gender? When will other legislation be introduced to encourage organisations to consider other equality gaps?
Gender is one very small part of the jigsaw. Watch this space.
When conducting the gender pay gap analysis the resources I have found useful are:
Various webinars – they are always a useful tool for up skilling.