Filling the Gender Pay Gap

Filling the Gender Pay Gap

Last year, the government announced that private and voluntary sector companies with at least 250 employees would have to publish information about the pay being received by male and female members of staff. This was intended to encourage transparency over the differences in pay between men and women doing the same job and ultimately, to lead to fair pay practices.

The government is now likely to extend the regulation to public sector companies. But how is mandatory pay gap reporting likely to affect employers and employees? Will potential naming and shaming light a fire under companies that aren’t doing enough to address this issue? Will clarity of motive lead to purity of deed?

Specialist Staffing

We spoke to Cheryl Moloney, Operations Director for Blue Arrow, to see what impact the change might have from a specialist staffing point of view.

How is this change likely to affect companies?

It will lead to increased awareness and a more diverse workforce, challenging company cultures. Candidates will want to work for companies with the most favourable reports, creating employers of choice. We could also see a reduction in the number of discrimination claims.

How is this change likely to affect employees?

There will be reduced gender pay gaps and hopefully, equal pay in the future. Increased motivation, better career prospects and advancement for women will ultimately lead to equality in the workplace. We could also see an increase in the number of working mums and returners from maternity leave thanks to more flexible working patterns, leading to greater staff retention and more senior roles becoming more readily available for the female workforce.

What’s the potential downside?

This is a very positive move for business and industry as well as employees, but it will have cost and time implications for employers having to produce the report.

Managed Services

Continuing our look at the potential effects on employers and employees, we spoke to Kate Holthofer, Divisional Director for Blue Arrow, to see what impact the regulation might have from a managed services point of view.

What will the government do to reinforce this regulation?

The government is planning to run periodic checks to assess for non-compliance and produce tables by sector of employers’ reported gender pay gaps. As well as highlighting any employers publishing particularly full and transparent information, they could possibly publicise the identity of employers who have not complied.

How is this change likely to affect companies?

Managed services accounts tend to run on a “rate card” basis, so the reports should not highlight many differences in roles such as aircraft fitters, pickers, packers and warehouse operatives.

We will need to closely look at the reasons for many of the gaps that are identified. Are they because of gender? There are a number of non-discriminatory reasons behind pay gaps, such as pay progression, pay protection, performance pay, competency pay, premiums and allowances. These are likely to be the causes of many of the differences in pay for white collar roles.

What are the possible benefits?

At a time when there are more jobs than people and the labour market is becoming more competitive, publicising gender pay gaps will increase employee confidence in the remuneration process and help employers identify new opportunities to increase female participation rates. Competition and peer pressure (especially within the same sector) will drive employers to tackle workplace inequalities. It will help tap into other available labour, encourage women to return to work after maternity leave and increase the number of women in the workplace.

What’s the potential downside?

Publishing an adverse gender pay gap could have a number of harmful implications for companies, including reputational damage from negative publicity and disclosure of sensitive financial data. There is also a risk of significant financial damage from employee claims for equal pay, potentially going back over six years.

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