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EqualPayPortalBlogSpot is run by equal pay expert Sheila Wild

23 December 2016

Lone mums and older women pay the price of gender inequality

Two recent reports from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) show that across Europe women in general are at a higher risk of poverty. Over the course of their lives they receive a lower income than men, are more likely to work in low paid and insecure jobs or take career breaks due to caring responsibilities at home. As a result, they are exposed to a higher risk of poverty or social exclusion, especially when they are the sole earners.
While a higher proportion of both men and women are living on the edge of poverty and social exclusion today compared to 2010, factors like gender, age, ethnicity, migrant background, disability or type of household can affect a person’s vulnerability to poverty and social exclusion.
A heavy dependence on a father’s income increases the risk of poverty and insecurity, especially when events such as job loss, family break-up, serious illness or even death, occur. The study shows that if a father were to lose his job, 70 per cent of couples with children would fall into poverty.
EIGE’s Director, Virginija Langbakk, says protecting women against poverty helps to protect the whole family.
We need to ensure better career options for women, fair wages and better social systems, such as pension schemes that consider the different needs and challenges women and men face.”
While employment is crucial in safeguarding people against poverty, women with children have a relatively low employment rate. Only half (55 per cent) of women with three or more children have a job. With the arrival of each additional child, a woman’s economic independence shrinks. The need to care for children, parents or sick and disabled relatives keeps many women out of paid work and this has life-long consequences for their career, financial situation and ultimately on pensions.
Lone mothers — being women and being sole earners — face a double challenge. Almost half of all lone parents are poor and women are particularly affected as they make up 85 per cent of all one-parent families in the EU. Due to difficulties reconciling work and family life, they face added constraints on their ability to find a good job. Women are more likely to take up lower paid and less secure forms of work, such as involuntary part-time jobs and jobs with temporary contracts.

And while amongst young people, women and men face a very similar risk of poverty, older women (+75 years) are at much higher risk than older men. Women are clearly paying the price of gender inequalities at an older age.

You can read EIGE’s report here.

You can read EIGE’s factsheet on poverty, gender, and lone parents here.

19 December 2016

Employer views on Gender Pay gap Reporting

In the summer of 2016 the Pay Equality Research Consortium looked into employer views on the forthcoming regulations. A report on the preliminary findings looks at how informed employers feel, their measures of preparation, and how effective they feel regulations will be in overcoming pay gaps.

Interviews revealed that employers have mixed views about the possible effectiveness of GPG reporting: yes, no, and uncertain. The majority of interviews reflected the challenge of the task ahead and the comparatively limited impact that such legislation is likely to have. There was the feeling that this probably wouldn’t work for smaller organisations; that the complexity of the measurements and the process was such that the effects of this weren’t really understood. One respondent pointed to their non-compulsory nature as a reason to suggest they wouldn’t have much impact.

Employers recognised that there is scope for many different explanations for pay gaps and the impact of reporting gaps will be lost in narrative. There was also the sense that public reporting wouldn’t change behaviours of employees.

There was a more positive perspective from larger organisations where this was seen as a ‘wake-up call’. Employers acknowledged reporting could be potentially quite powerful in sectors where comparisons can be made and employees are more likely to move between employers. It was also seen as a valuable process in terms of starting the debate. As one respondent put it: “If it gets measured it gets done”. But the need for implementation and follow through was seen as key. It was also seen as a means to start to shift cultures. In essence it was seen as being a stimulus for change (the media could play a role here too) where organisations wouldn’t want to be named and shamed.

A number of concerns were raised:
  • That employers would not be given the time to understand or prepare
  • That reporting pay gaps would be little more than more that rhetoric or ‘advertising’
  • That measures would be too complex
  • That impact would be hard to gauge, with little to no evidence of this type of regulation having worked elsewhere
  • How gaps would be explained and qualified (potentially neutralising the intended impact)
  • How the figures were going to be compiled and whether it would be a fair and true reflection of the position. This included questions around what was included and what was not, and whether fair comparisons were possible.

9 December 2016

New Regulations, new online tool

Although the Regulations were actually available on line on Tuesday of this week, the
Government has today announced that it has laid the draft Gender Pay Gap regulations before Parliament. The Government has also published its response to the Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting Consultation on Draft Regulations for the private and voluntary sector.

The Government has carefully considered the responses to the second consultation and associated stakeholder engagement and considers that the draft regulations strike the right balance between being practical for employers to carry out, while ensuring the necessary level of transparency to accelerate change and encourage all employers to champion gender equality in their workforce.

In addition, the Government have also launched today a new online tool that allows the public to find out the gender pay gap for their occupation, as defined in the standard industrial classifications used by the Office for National Statistics. The online tool uses the latest data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings to provide the most up to date gender pay gap data.  The launch of the online toll is in line with the Government’s intention that gender pay gap reporting should provide comparability with national statistics. 

For more on the Regulations, go to EqualPayPortal’s page on Gender Pay GapReporting

5 December 2016

The gender pay gap in the GLA

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has hit out at the 'unacceptable' pay gap between men and women as he published full gender pay details of all organisations in the Greater London Authority (the GLA).
Earlier this year, the Mayor honoured a manifesto pledge by publishing gender pay data for all staff at City Hall and today he reiterated his call to all employers to close the pay gap for women after widening publication of gender pay gap data to include the Greater London Authority's 'functional bodies'.
The pay gap for full-time workers across the UK is 9.4 per cent and in London it is 11.9 per cent, according to the 2015 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ONS).
The figures are calculated according to the median, the value suggested by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
As salaries at the Greater London Authority are determined through a job evaluation scheme which evaluates the job and not the post holder, the GLA pays the same salary to roles of equal value. The GLA believes therefore that the differences in the figures do not show a difference in pay for roles of equal value, but illustrate the need for more female representation at the most senior levels of the organisation.
Khan is asking all Greater London Authority group organisations to publish action plans to address the pay gap and says he will be working with all functional bodies to do everything they can to promote gender equality.
Khan’s plans to boost female representation at the most senior levels at City Hall include increasing the availability of part-time and flexible-working options and aiding career progression within those roles. City Hall also offers mentoring, career-support programmes and sponsorship for qualifications. It is training managers to ensure the recruitment process is as fair as possible and piloting ‘no name’ application forms.
Khan has published detailed pay data for all GLA group organisations, including pay gap data for part-time and full-time staff and pay gaps at every level of the organisation. He believes that this transparency is critical and allows the GLA to understand why the pay gap exists and how to take action to eliminate it.

To read the full report, click here.

29 November 2016

New handbook on taking an equal pay claim

Equinet, the European Network of national Equality Bodies , has produced a handbook on building a case on equal pay. This Handbook, prepared by members of Equinet’s Working Group on Gender Equality, aims to be a practical and useful tool for anyone who works on equal pay cases, guiding you to existing resources, data, and arguments that have been successful in the past.

The handbook is structured to help case-workers in equality bodies, lawyers or other legal professionals to build their case, but the resources contained therein should support and inform anyone looking to gain insight into the challenges and opportunities in litigating for equal pay. In addition, the handbook contains useful and hands-on information for anyone interested in and working on equal pay.

You can download a copy of the handbook here.

28 November 2016

Employment Tribunal decisions to be published on line

All new Employment Tribunal judgments (and possibly some older ones) are to be published in an online searchable database, accessible to the public. The timing of this has yet to be confirmed.

27 November 2016

25 per cent gender pay gap in the high tech sector

New research from Mercer claims that at 25 percent, the gender earnings gap in the UK’s high tech sector is significantly higher than the national average (18 percent). The consultancy also found that small companies have the largest gap, with a 30 percent difference in (median) pay between all male and female employees, and a 26 percent gap when considering mean base salaries. This difference reduces as company sizes grow. 

Where the data allowed comparison of pay between women and men in equal job roles, the pay gap was much smaller, typically 8 percent. This is comparable to the UK norm of 9 percent for this type of analysis. The reasons for this gap is due on further analysis to a multitude of factors including the reluctance of many women to enter the tech field, not enough effort being put into promoting women and a lack of will in promoting flexible working patterns.

Mercer’s analysis of the gender earnings gap in the UK high-tech sector, covered 66,000 employees across 153 companies. The data comes from Mercer Comptryx, a global database covering 106 countries and the UK’s premier source of pay and labour force data for the high-tech and digital economy.

To read more, click here.

11 November 2016

Employers unaware of gender pay gap reporting

Recruitment agency totaljobs set out to discover if female employees in general had lower salary expectations and what can be done to overcome this.

Totaljobs surveyed 4,700 jobseekers and 145 employers. Totaljobs’ research shows nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of women believe men are paid more for carrying out the same job. 58 per cent of men but only 44 per cent of women say that men and women receive equal pay, suggesting that a majority of working women feel salaries aren’t fair. In particular, taking time out for parental leave was seen as a career killer, with one in 10 women attributing their absence from the workplace as the reason behind a missed pay rise or promotion. 16 per cent feel their pay has never recovered.

24 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women say they don’t believe their company actively promotes equality in the workplace regardless of age, gender and ethnicity.

Looking at a UK average across all roles, levels, industries and regions, totaljobs’ research found women have typically lower expectations than men when it comes to salary, anticipating £25,468 per annum compared to £32,030 for men – a difference of £6,562. Similarly, when applying for a new role, women typically expect a pay rise of £3,241 on average compared to £4,107 for men - a difference of £866.

Despite the fact that equal numbers of men and women received pay rises in their current role (44 per cent of men and 43 per cent of women), the research found men received an average pay rise of £1,764 compared to £1,377 for women in the past twelve months, a difference of £387. 

On the question of whether they asked for a pay rise, 9 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women said they asked for it directly and were given it, showing that women are just as likely to ask, yet are likely to receive less. 75 per cent of women don’t feel comfortable asking for a pay rise in the first place, whereas 59 per cent of men do. And across all employees, the majority were granted a salary increase because everyone was given a pay rise (31 per cent), in other words, without asking.

Of those awarded a bonus in the last 12 months, men received an average of £2,059 compared to £1,128 for women - a difference of £931. Almost a third (31 per cent) of women claim they don’t know how their current company makes decisions with regards to its bonus scheme.


Totaljobs’ research also found that one in five employers (20 per cent) are either unsure or unconfident that salaries are equal across the genders. Surprisingly, over half (51 per cent) of the employers questioned were unaware that gender pay gap reporting is in the offing, and more than  half of employers (58 per cent) said that their salary information across roles and gender is not readily available to employees on request. If that is the case, those employers are going to find gender pay gap reporting hard going. 

10 November 2016

Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day. This marks the day after which women in Britain are effectively working for free as a result of earning less on average than men. That’s from now until the 31st December
The current overall gap for full time workers is 13.9 per cent.

See what people are saying about the gender pay gap on Equal Pay Day:

Fawcett              Read Fawcett’s briefings.

TUC                      Watch the TUC’s films on the fight for equal pay

The Telegraph    Includes an open letter to Theresa May

The Sun

7 November 2016

IT companies should monitor starting salaries

An interesting analysis from the IT sector shows how women’s expectations help to determine what they get paid and highlights the important role that companies play in the process.

The global IT recruitment specialist Hired set out to analyse its salary data set across gender, location, role and company type. Because Hired candidates set a preferred salary and all interview requests made by companies on Hired’s platform include compensation details, Hired has a unique insight into the salaries that men and women ask for and what companies offer them.

The report is based on information gathered and analysed by Hired’s Insight Manager, Dr Jessica Kirkpatrick, and the data came from an analysis of more than 10,000 offers across approximately 3,000 candidates and 750 companies.

To better understand how the gender wage gap plays out across different roles, Hired looked at women in the fields of software engineering and tech sales. Sales has long been seen as a male-dominated profession, a perception that Hired’s data supports. Women working in tech sales are offered roles with a median salary of 5 per cent less than their male counterparts. In software engineering the problem deepens: women are offered 9 per cent less than their male colleagues, the equivalent of nearly five weeks’ wages.

Entry-level men outearn their female counterparts by 7 per cent, increasing to 10 per cent for men and women with between 2-6 years of experience, reaching 31 per cent for individuals with more than six years’ experience. Kirkpatrick surmises that this, in turn, has an impact on the salaries that women request. Women with less than six years of experience ask for roughly the same salary as their male counterparts; however, as they reach six or more years of experience, they ask for 18 per cent less. The fact that women lower their expectations over the course of their careers after receiving lower salaries than the men they work alongside underscores the importance of companies ensuring equal pay early on.

When male and female candidates in the UK ask for the same salary, the wage gap almost disappears, which is similar to the findings of Hired’s US report. So, one of the most important conclusions from this report is that women who know their worth in the interview and job searching process can and do command a salary on par with men, but the report is clear that  companies play an equally important role in this process, and should consider employing a data-based approach to compensation that determines salary based on an individual’s market worth and not their previous — and possibly biased — salary.
Company-wide salary audits and regular training to ensure that there is no unconscious bias in the pay and promotion process are also good ways to close the wage gap.

To read the report, click here.

What Hired doesn’t say – and companies may not realise – is that, rather than giving rise to an equal pay claim, which is a long and complicated process, inequality in starting pay gives rise to a straightforward claim of sex discrimination in the terms on which the job is offered.  Monitoring of starting salaries, which is less resource intensive than an equal pay audit, is an easy way to identify and challenge this kind of inequality from day one.

28 October 2016

How can women’s pension shortfall be addressed?

John Cridland
The interim report of the Independent Review of State Pension Age, chaired by John Cridland, and published earlier this month, sets out a clear analysis of the issues relating to the affordability and fairness of potential future increases in state pension age. It recognises the issues of fairness within and between generations, including those between men and women.
Financial security is key to well-being in retirement and this will be as true for future generations of pensioners as it is for those who are already retired. While the universal state pension will provide a guaranteed minimum income for the majority of people in future, for most this will need to be supplemented by private income. Future generations will need to save for their later life but will also need to work for longer if they are to enjoy a decent living standard. The report identifies those groups who are more at risk of having insufficient income in later life and who are more likely to rely on the state pension; these include carers, people with disabilities, the self-employed, ethnic minorities and women.
The report draws on research that shows that men are projected to have around a 25 per cent higher income on average than women in their first year of retirement. This equates to a difference of approximately £3,000 per annum.

Men and women across all generations are set to receive very similar amounts of State Pension. The discrepancy in pension outcomes for men and women instead reflects different private pension outcomes. On average across all generations, just under 30 per cent of women’s total pension is made up of private (most often occupational) pension, compared to just over 40 per cent of men’s. These private pension outcomes reflect the fact that women currently earn on average less than men across their working lives and are more likely to take career breaks and this is assumed to continue into the future.

The report recognises that for many couples decisions around work and caring have been taken jointly and for them the important factor may be overall household pension income. However, the report asks two questions:

  1. What is the best way to take into account the lower pension outcomes for women in our recommendations?
  2. For older workers in particular, the adequacy of income in retirement may be best considered at a household level. However, when planning future changes to the pension system, how reliable is this assessment now and how reliable will it be for future generations?

You can read the full report here.

27 October 2016

A decade of regression for UK women

The latest report from the World Economic Forum shows just how much women in the UK have lost out over the past decade.

Through its Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks their progress over time, with a specific focus on the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. The 2016 Report covers 144 countries.

The gender pay gap is measured as part of the WEF’s Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex. 11 countries (three less than last year), including four from Sub-Saharan Africa—Burundi, Botswana, Rwanda and Ghana—and three Nordic countries—Norway, Iceland, and Sweden—have closed more than 80 per cent of their gap. However, 19 countries have closed less than 50 per cent of the gap, with Pakistan and Syria holding the last two spots. Thirty-two countries have scores below the world average (0.586, weighted by population) on this subindex.

While the UK has risen to 20th from 18th place in the overall rankings, it is still well below its top 10 position in 2006. On wage equality for similar work the UK ranks 52nd, and on estimated earned income, 92nd. Even allowing for quibbles over statistical comparability, this is a lamentable score.

You can read the full report here.

A third of companies lack data on the gender pay gap

With gender pay gap reporting only six months away, a study by the incentive compensation firm Xactly has revealed that 49 per cent of UK executives believe that the gender pay-gap is ‘a natural prejudice against women’. 250 UK C-Level executives from large organisations were interviewed for the survey.
The research aimed to explore the reasons behind the gap and its repercussions, and discovered that 62 per cent of those surveyed think that women taking time out of their careers to have children is the main cause of the pay-gap. Quite surprising really, given that over a third of those surveyed admitted that they lack the data and skills needed to identify the gap. If they lack the data, how can they ascribe a cause?
More positively, 82 per cent say their business has a clear strategy to review and close the gap.
Publicity for the report quotes Claire Cockerton, CEO, Here East Innovation Centre, who said:
“Changing perceptions about women’s abilities in the workplace is a stubborn challenge to address. Though we may not realise it, many of us carry preconceived ideas and unconscious biases about women in business. This has once again been highlighted by research today, which has found that nearly half (49%) of UK C-level executives believe the reason for the pay gap is natural prejudice. The fact that nearly half recognise this however, does mean it can be addressed. This elevates an issue which everyone should play a part in rectifying, both female and male, those who have been advocating for equal pay for years, and those who once might not have thought it their place.
Men play a vital role in ensuring that change happens; unfortunately, this is an issue that today, too few men address. The Women in the Workplace 2016 study, for instance, highlighted a growing cultural challenge with the lack of conviction and engagement from senior board-level male staff on gender issues.
It goes without saying that organisations should have a clear compensation philosophy; one that has mandatory salary transparency across genders in businesses and that is based on third-party salary data, ensuring each individual is paid fairly according to the market rate for their skills and experience. But beyond the policy change which delivers better equality to businesses, we also now need the champions of the philosophy and strong enactors of a fair and equally-accommodating corporate culture. We need strong male and female voices; and those who find themselves in leadership positions in companies need to take the requisite responsibility for tipping the scale – which means we need to see a lot more male leaders at the table driving forward diversity and gender equality.”

You can read the report here.

14 October 2016

Finance firms committ to tackling the gender pay gap

The UK's leading financial firms have published targets for improving gender diversity in senior roles, and narrowing the gender pay gap along with their strategies for achieving those targets over the next five years.

Of the 72 firms who have signed the Treasury-backed Women in Finance Charter since it was set up earlier this year, 60 have committed to filling 30 per cent of senior roles with women by 2021. Eight companies have included an ambition or target relevant to the gender pay gap in their commitment.

Actions firms have committed to include reducing the gender pay gap at senior management level, review and monitoring of pay levels by gender, and publishing gender pay gap information in advance of the April 2018 publication date.

Financial services is the UK's highest paid sector but also the one with the widest gender pay gap, at 39.5 per cent,  compared with 19.2 per cent across the economy as a whole.

The Women in Finance Charter was established in March in response to the report from Virgin Money’s Jayne-Anne Gadhia, which found that women currently hold about 23 per cent of positions on UK boards but only 14 per cent of executive committee roles.

Firms signed up to the Charter commit to four actions to improve gender diversity: setting internal targets for gender diversity in their senior management; publishing progress reports annually against these targets; appointing a senior executive responsible for gender diversity and inclusion; and linking their executives' remuneration packages to gender diversity targets. As none of these relate directly to the gender pay gap, it is heartening to see that some signatories recognise the need to tackle the challenge head-on.

In response to the publication of targets, Theresa May, the prime minister, said that the UK's "world leading" financial services sector could "do even better if it made the most of many talented women who work in finance".

"It is good news that so many firms have signed the Women in Finance Charter and are now dedicating themselves to tackling gender inequality," she said. "They recognise the business case for doing so and with ambitious targets to deepen the female talent pool, these firms are leading the way."

"I want to see a diverse sector run by talented men and women and I look forward to seeing many more businesses promoting women and helping to make the UK the best place in the world to do business," May said.

7 October 2016

Civil Service Pay Gap widens

The newly released Civil Service Statistics for 2016 show that the gender pay gap in the Civil Service has widened. The figures also show an increasing feminisation of the Service.

At 31 March 2016, 54.2 per cent of all Civil Service employees were women, up 0.4 percentage points from 31 March 2015, with the proportion of women increasing in all responsibility levels. In the Executive Officer and Administrative responsibility levels there were more women than men. The proportion of female Grade 6 and 7s (the middling grades) has been steadily increasing, from 38.1 per cent in 2008 to 44.8 per cent in 2016, while the proportion of women working at Senior Civil Service level was 40.1 per cent, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from 2015 and 8.2 percentage points up on 31 March 2008.
More than 80 per cent of civil servants were in the 30 to 59 age group. Since 31 March 2015 there has been an increase in age band 16 to 19 of 330 (27.5 per cent) and age band 20 to 29 of 2,590 (6.5 per cent). All other age bands showed a decrease.
There were more women than men in the 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49 and 50 to 59 age bands. There were more males than females in the 16-19, 60-64 and 65 and over age bands.
The gender pay gap for all employees was calculated as the difference between the median pay for males and females. The report does not include the gender pay gap calculated according to the mean.
The median gender pay gap increased from 12.0 per cent in March 2015 to 13.6 per cent in March 2016. The gender pay gap for full-time employees increased from 9.0 per cent to 12.0 per cent. There was a fall from 15.4 per cent to 11.5 per cent for part-time employees. For the “all employees” category the largest gender pay gap is for Senior and Higher Executive Officers, increasing from 3.8 per cent to 4.6 per cent. The Senior Civil Service level gender pay gap fell from 4.9 per cent to 3.7 per cent from March 2015 to March 2016.
While the report does not attempt to explain the widening of the gender pay gap, I think it may have something to do with the starting salaries for those entering the service. The report does not give details of the number of recruits entering at the different levels of responsibility, nor does it give the gender distribution of those entrants, but if the number of men entering at higher levels of responsibility (and therefore attracting higher salaries) is greater than the number of women, then this would tend to widen the gender pay gap. Similarly, if men entering the Service, at whatever level of responsibility, are put on higher starting salaries than their female counterparts, then this too would tend to widen the gap. I hope the Civil Service will dig a bit deeper into its statistics and find out why women appear to be losing out.
You can read the full report here.
For further information, contact Neil Hedges,  01633 456741

30 September 2016

Teenage pregnancy and violence against women contribute to gender inequality

I've only had time to glance at the full report from McKinsey on the UK gender gap, but the executive summary is singularly impressive. 

Why? Because it looks out of the box labelled 'public policy' and into the reality of women's lives. It recognises that life events like teenage pregnancy and violence against women have an impact which extends beyond the domestic sphere into the world of work. 

Over the past decade, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has made a sustained commitment to researching and writing about gender and diversity. Since 2007, McKinsey’s Women Matter research has explored the role women play in workplaces around the world. The UK research is based on MGI’s research world-wide. 

The Power of Parity, advancing women's equality in the United Kingdom argues that narrowing the UK gender gap in work has the potential to create an extra £150 billion on top of business-as-usual GDP forecasts in 2025, and could translate into 840,000 additional female employees. 

MGI step outside the workplace arena and call for action to tackle external barriers to women’s full labour market participation such as violence against women, and social attitudes and mindset.  Of the indicators MGI examined, data suggest that gender parity across social metrics is mixed, with UK women enjoying parity in higher education and in legal protection, but with other social indicators revealing a less positive picture. The highest disparity is in single parenthood. In addition, UK women spend almost twice as much time as men on unpaid care work, lagging North America and Oceania but ahead of the average in Western Europe
The report also finds that while the UK has little gender inequality during childhood, with strong scores in digital inclusion, education, legal protection, child marriage and sex ratio at birth, once a woman reaches young adulthood, factors such as the UK’s relatively high prevalence of teenage pregnancy may limit her ability to enter the workforce; when coupled with low income mobility, this can restrict her future economic contribution. Gender-based violence may also impact some women during this phase, with possible ramifications for educational attainment and, later, labour-force participation. 

Within the workplace, MGI’s data suggest that national work indicators have not shown significant improvement: labour-force participation rate, hours worked, and median wage have all remained within the medium inequality range, while the women in leadership and managerial positions indicator continues to demonstrate high inequality. 

The MGI report should make uncomfortable reading for those politicians who tell us women have never had it so good. 

The Power of Parity makes a comprehensive list of recommendations and in a well-deserved compliment to the Committee’s chair, Maria Miller, identify the Women and Equalities Committee as a focus for future momentum.

I'm looking forward to reading the full report, and may come back with another post. 

You can read both the executive summary and the full report here. 

25 September 2016

Valuing the work that women do

Deloitte’s recent analysis of the gender pay gap, which received extensive media coverage, is based on figures from the Office for National Statistics. It shows that the difference in the hourly pay gap between men and women is closing at a rate of just 2.5 pence per annum, but that in certain occupations, such as skilled trades and education, the gap is actually widening. Even in female-dominated occupations, such as teaching and caring, men receive considerably higher average pay. At this rate, Deloitte calculate the gender pay gap will not close for another 53 years.

Deloitte’s solution is for more to be done to encourage girls from an early age to understand the impact that their choice of studies can have on their career options, and to encourage them to consider careers in science, engineering and technology (the STEM subjects).
Emma Codd
Emma Codd, Managing Partner for Talent at Deloitte, said: 

“We know that the pay gap is far smaller for those women starting their careers in STEM related roles; we also know that high-skilled jobs demanding a blend of cognitive, social and technical skills are typically among the most highly-paid. Therefore, if more women study STEM subjects and pursue related careers they will increase their earnings potential in the early years of their working lives and - should they remain in their careers - the later ones. This in turn should serve to reduce the gender pay gap.”
All well and good, and of course we should be doing this. But we also need to take a long hard look at the value we place on jobs. The traditionally female roles of cleaning and caring, for example, are just as important to society’s well-being as are science and technology. Nowadays we take cleaning entirely for granted, but without it there would be disease – think MRSA within hospitals, or gastro-enteritis in cafes and restaurants. And as for caring, why do we pay people more for looking after our cars than we do for looking after our older and frailer citizens? The usual answer – that the market sets the rates of pay – only begs further questions, like who or what is the market and why does it set a higher value on things than it does on people? In short, where are its moral values?

As Deloitte recognises, the gender pay gap has a variety of complex causes, and it will take a flexible and sustainable approach to eliminate it. One of those approaches is to encourage girls to go into higher paid work; another is to set a proper value on the work which women do.

16 September 2016

Bank of England Gender Pay Gap Report

On Tuesday of this week the Bank of England released its latest figures on the gender pay gap.


According to the Bank’s own release the pay gap based on mean full-time equivalent salaries was 18.7 per cent, down from 19.7 per cent at March 2015.  The equivalent figure for median salary was 26.4 per cent, down from 27.6 per cent.
The Bank says that the main reason for the gap is the lower proportion of females in senior roles relative to males.  The Bank has 44 per cent female employees and 60 per cent of these are in the lowest two quartiles (55 per cent of employees in the first quartile and 49 per cent in the second quartile are female). In the highest paid quartile, only 32 per cent of staff are female.  To address this imbalance the organisation has two Bank-wide targets for gender. The first is for 35 per cent of its senior management staff to be female by 2020 (from the current 28 per cent). The second is to have an equal split of men and women in the organisation at all levels below senior management by 2020 (from the current 44 per cent).
The Bank is currently undertaking work to improve data capture on role types, to ensure it has the best data available to be able to monitor, and develop strategies to continue to address pay differentials. The Bank also notes that it is important to view its gender pay gap in the wider context of education and employment in the UK and that for the majority of roles it recruits for, the pool of candidates is predominantly male. Only 27 per cent of UK economics students are female. 

The Bank is committed to publishing its gender pay data as part of the forthcoming reporting requirements, and in a taste of what may to come for organisations reporting on their gender pay gaps, most commentators chose both to report on the wider of the two measures (the median) and to point out that the gap is currently higher than the national average, as measured by the Office for National Statistics (19.2 per cent in the private sector and 11.4 per cent  in the public sector ). These comments, as well as emphasising the worst case, ignore the wider – and very relevant – information about the context, as provided by the Bank.
The Bank’s figures also show an improvement in the number of women in senior roles. In 2015, there was a 25 per cent female representation at senior levels, but this has risen by 3 per cent in 2016, suggesting that the Bank has a good chance of meetings its targets.

12 September 2016

Equal pay claims up

The number of employment tribunal claims dropped slightly in the three months to June 2016, continuing the downward trend since tribunal fees were introduced in 2013.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice showed that there were a total of 4,200 single claims received in this quarter, down 3 per cent on April to June 2015. However, equal pay claims bucked the trend, being up on the same quarter in 2015 at 3,367, a rise of 72 per cent. However, some of this rise may be attributable to group actions for equal pay against two major supermarkets, Asda and Sainsbury’s.

The duration of a tribunal case, that is, how long it takes from being lodged to its eventual conclusion, increased for multiple claims, many of which will be equal pay claims, but went down slightly for single claims. For single claims relating to discrimination jurisdictions, the mean age of a case ranged from 34 weeks for sex discrimination claims to 91 weeks for equal pay claims. The mean duration of a multiple equal pay claim was 320 weeks (well over 5 years), but with some cases already having lasted 440 weeks.  The length of time taken to dispose of equal pay claims may be contributing to the 15 per cent increase in outstanding cases in Employment tribunals.

As an aside, EqualPayPortal notes with interest that the Equality and Human Rights Commission does not appear on the Pre-Release Access list for these quarterly statistics, meaning that any press release the Commission might choose to  issue in response to increases or decreases in claims filed within its areas of interest is likely to be overlooked as being ‘yesterday’s news.’

PWC publishes its gender pay gap

The professional services giant PWC, has published its latest gender pay gap figures in its annual transparency report. PWCs strategy for recruitment, engagement, development, diversity and remuneration is consistent across the firm.

On remuneration, PWC says:

“In determining remuneration for our staff we carefully balance several elements including: the economic climate and the external market; recognition of people’s hard work, including the quality of the work they deliver; the performance of the firm; and investment for the future. We have common firm-wide reward principles, but in rewarding our people we recognise that we operate in different markets. We have a firm-wide bonus plan, but individual bonuses are determined by each Line of Service.

We have conducted Equal Pay Reviews for more than 10 years. We published our gender pay gap for the first time two years ago, being the first in our sector to do so. This is one of the many activities we undertake to ensure our employment policies and practices are fair. We review pay and bonus by gender, ethnicity and different working patterns (full time to part time).

In FY16 our single figure gender pay gap was 15.2% (FY15: 15.3%). Our single figure gender pay gap does not take into account objective reasons for pay difference such as grade, location or performance level. In line with good practice, we therefore adjust this figure for the different gender demographic across the grades, as we have more men than women at our most senior grades; this adjusted pay gap figure is 2.6% (FY15: 2.8%).
We continue to take actions to address any gaps and also to take action through wider policies and activities to make sure our policies and practices are fair. This includes actively reviewing decisions on out of cycle payments, experienced recruitment and during our pay and bonus rounds.”

You can read the full transparency report here.

10 September 2016

Groups protesting against the Government's selection of G4S to deliver the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) have written (with an accompanying dossier) to the Select Committee on Women and Equalities and the Joint Committee on Human Rights, calling for an inquiry into the suitability of G4S to deliver the Service to those who have faced discrimination on the grounds of their sex, race, or disability, despite a recommendation by a House of Lords committee to take the helpline back in-house.

The joint letter and dossier have received widespread coverage in the UK media, including in :, The Guardian, and Solicitors Journal.

But, time is running out. The service is due to become operational on 1 October and run for three years, with the option of a two year extension. In the meantime, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which wants the service back, is working with G4S and government to provide advice on how the service can best meet the needs of those who experience discrimination or an abuse of their human rights.

You can read both the letter and dossier on Liberty’s website.

EqualPayPortal would be interested to know what training is being provided to G4S staff in advising employees on equal pay claims.