Every year, employers from the private and voluntary sectors and some public bodies with more than 250 employees are required to publish gender pay gap information under Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010.
At Business in the Community, we encourage early and comprehensive reporting as a positive move towards greater equality for women in the workplace. Embracing transparency could enable employers to enhance their corporate reputation, increase their staff’s engagement and attract new talent. Our research shows that employees want to know about the gender pay gap in their organisation, how it can be explained and what employers are doing to close it.
Busting three myths about the Gender Pay Gap
The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across an organisation. The media reporting on the gender pay gap is almost daily, but the gender pay gap remains a complex and confusing concept. To help you tell facts from fiction, we have busted the three biggest myths around the gender pay gap.
Myth #1: The Gender Pay Gap is the same as equal pay.
Busted! The Gender Pay Gap is independent of equal pay. In short, the Gender Pay Gap shows the difference between women’s and men’s average earnings across an organisation while equal pay means women and men get paid the same amount of money when doing similar jobs. What you may not know is that equal pay has been a legal requirement in the UK since 1975 and best practice for any organisation is to conduct regular equal pay audits.
Myth #2: The Gender Pay Gap exists because there are more men than women in senior positions.
This is a standard response we’re seeing in some organisation’s gender pay gap reports, but it merely describes the symptom we’re seeing; it’s not the root cause. It’s no surprise (especially not to women) that there are still more CEOs called David and Steve than female CEOs1 or that 71% of FTSE 100 directors are male2, and that we’re still a long way from true gender equality in the workplace. We view the causes of the gender pay gap as horizontal segregation, vertical segregation and gender discrimination.
Myth #3: Reporting the Gender Pay Gap won’t change anything.
Critics say that reporting organisations’ gender pay gap is merely a legal necessity now and that it won’t dramatically affect how we attract, hire, or promote women. But we disagree. The gender pay gap forces organisations to gather their gender data (for most organisation it’s the first time) and publish it. This creates more transparency and gives us as a society greater insight but also greater power: organisations can no longer hide behind marketing-style statements like “Women are important to our business” – we can now see the data that may or may not back up these claims.
So all in all, we believe that the gender pay gap is a great opportunity for us to keep improving gender equality in the workplace. If the idea of the gender pay gap is still daunting to you or you worry about getting your gender pay gap narrative right, we’re here to help.
We provide our members with online and face-to-face guidance to understand their gap and write their contextual narrative and offer recommendations to develop an action plan tailored to their needs and relevant to their sector.
1. 'More people called David and Steve lead FTSE 100 companies than women and ethnic minorities', The Independent, 8th March 2018
2. 'Number of women in top boardroom positions falls, says report', The Guardian, 17th July 2018