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EqualPayPortalBlogSpot is run by equal pay expert Sheila Wild

30 December 2017

How marketing is tackling its gender pay gap

For many months now, I’ve been saying that gender pay gap reporting won’t really take off until businesses decide to take a sectoral approach to the issue, and I’m pleased to see that this is beginning to happen.  Marketing Week’s 2018 Annual Salary Survey has included the gender pay gap dimension in its analysis – and it makes interesting reading.

Data gathered from the sample finds female marketers earn less than male marketers in every sector and in every role, except that of marketing assistant. This is the only time in her career a female marketer will earn a higher amount than a male marketer, taking home 10 per cent more, with an average salary of £22,209 versus £20,250. The survey goes on to look at the gap by industry and by seniority.

Industry leaders have expressed surprise at the findings, but have nonetheless given some pointers as to how to tackle the gap: don’t let previous salary determine earnings, but set a rate for the job; encourage people to push for money if they think they’re worth it, and self-check to see that you are doing all that you can to tackle the problem.

I’d like to see a lot more of this kind of coverage of the gap. 

20 December 2017

EHRC needs to get its skates on

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has at long last decided what it's going to do to enforce the gender pay gap reporting regulations - go after those who haven't reported. Well, yes, but surely that leaves a lot of questions unanswered? Especially as the document  setting out the Commission's intentions is titled 'a draft' strategy.

Employers I am working with want to know what amounts to an unlawful breach of the regulations. Failure to report at all is clearly a breach, but what about partial reporting, or inaccurate reporting? And who will decide whether a report is inaccurate and whether it is wilfully or accidentally so? What about the level of sign off? Could sign off by a junior lead to legal action? And what about the information gathering itself, and, in particular, the difficulties organisations are having in assigning the appropriate reporting status to employees, and in defining allowances as pay or bonus payments? Will inaccuracies here lead to problems for employers?

And from an employee's point of view, who does an employee go to if they have grounds for believing that their employer is in breach of the regulations? How do they complain, and are they fully protected if they do so?

Clarity is much needed. The EHRC says it will produce guidance, but for those who are still seeking guidance over and above the official guidance produced for the Government Equalities Office by Acas, the April reporting deadline is fast approaching. What kind of guidance will the EHRC produce and when? Perhaps the final version of the strategy will tell audiences what they need to know, but the EHRC needs to get its skates on.

6 December 2017

The All-in Diversity Project on gender pay gap reporting

The All-in Diversity Project is an industry-driven, not-for-profit initiative, focused on benchmarking diversity, equality and inclusion across the global betting and gaming sector. The Project aims to measure, and facilitate an open and objective discussion about diversity across the industry, with the objective of establishing an industry standard index.
The project will cover subjects such as corporate governance, internal policies, recruitment practices, equal pay, employment legislation, unconscious bias and marketing.
With support from Paddy Power Betfair and other partners, the project will provide a year-on-year progress update, highlight successes, challenges and opportunities, and make best practice recommendations in areas.
Kelly Kehn, co-founder of the All-in Diversity Project said: “We established the All-in Diversity Project because we believe the industry itself has a role to play in improving how we do business.”
The project is in its debut year and I shall be watching what it does in relation to equal pay with a keen interest – I’m convinced that the key to the success of gender pay gap reporting lies with individual sectors talking among themselves about the challenges confronting like-minded businesses and developing ways of means of addressing these.

Here’s what the Project has to say about gender pay gap reporting.

2 December 2017

Gender pay gap reporting – what’s the problem?

Why is so much anxiety being expressed about how few employers have so far reported on their gender pay gap?  Employers are free to choose their own reporting date and they have until spring next year to do so. Yes, the Government Equalities Office was hoping employers would step up smartly, but why should they do so? It was always going to be the case that the many would wait to see what the few had to say, and it was always going to be the case that organisations already subject to a variety of reporting requirements would choose to align gender pay gap reporting with other key organisational reports.

Hard to escape the suspicion that some who might stand to win business from creating anxiety are doing just that. Most commentaries finish with the phrase ‘for help with gender pay gap reporting contact ….’

29 November 2017

People with masculine names get paid more

A quirky, but nonetheless depressing survey, by recruitment agency Adzuna, finds that having a male name can add considerably to your salary. You can try it out for yourself at Adzuna’s ValueMyName site.

With examples that should keep bloggers and journalists happy for months to come, Adzuna’s survey found that the highest earning female names (Liz, Jo and Michelle) earned £22,000 less than the highest earning male names (Ed, Giles, and Gerry).

The answer, as a very senior woman told me many years ago, is to be called Chris, a factor which she said had played no small part in her success.  Typing in Chris, rather than Sheila, more than doubled my worth, so there must be something in what she said!

24 November 2017

The ethics of pay in a fair society

A short but useful contribution from PWC, along with the LSE, to the current conversations about fair pay and equal pay. 

The ethics of pay in a fair society attempts to get to grips with some of the moral principles that underlie notions of fairness in pay.  The report – only sixteen pages long –merits reading in full, but in the context of my own interest in the gender pay gap, the most relevant (but unsurprising!) finding, is that while the demographics suggest that the dimensions of fairness and the balance between them have universal appeal, ideas about distributive justice differ between the generations, with young people having far less confidence in the ability of the market to produce a morally desirable result, and wanting stronger protection for the less well off.

Moreover, equal opportunity was the principle where there was the biggest gap between aspiration and reality.

These are points I often make in my presentations on the gender pay gap: younger workers expect pay to be fair, and they expect employers to treat people equally. As the PWC report says “This provides a challenge to companies seeking to develop an approach that works for three generations in the workforce.”

Employers who fail to meet younger people’s expectations, or who don’t appreciate the need to do so, will, sooner or later, lose out in the competition for talent. 

The report makes a number of suggestions as to how companies should respond. Do read it!

22 November 2017

European Commission steps up action on equal pay

The European Commission is adopting an Action Plan for 2018-19 to combat the gender pay gap from all possible angles.

The Action Plan includes a broad and coherent set of activities to tackle the gender pay gap, and prioritizes 8 areas for action:

  1. Improving the application of the equal pay principle
  2. Combating segregation in occupations and sectors
  3. Breaking the ceiling: initiatives to combat vertical segregation
  4. Tackling the care penalty
  5. Better valorizing women's skills, efforts and responsibilities
  6. Fighting the fog: unveiling inequalities and stereotypes
  7. Alerting and informing about the gender pay gap
  8. Lending hands: enhancing partnerships to tackle the gender pay gap
The Action Plan is accompanied by an Evaluation Report of the Commission’s 2014 Pay Transparency Recommendation. The UK’s gender pay gap regulations mean that we are ahead of the field in respect of transparency.

The Commission will also be having a closer look at the need to clarify the legal provisions on equal pay that are in the Directive on equal treatment between women and men in employment and occupation. It remains to be seen whether this initiative will be concluded before the UK has left the European Union.

For more information and to download the Action Plan, click here.

20 November 2017

totaljobs Gender Bias Decoder

With the gender-pay gap a key focus of many UK organisations, recruitment firm has looked into how the language of a job ad could impact on diversity.
Using previous academic research from The University of Waterloo and Duke University which outlined a series of male and female gender-coded words, analysed 76,929 job adverts over a six week period to assess the frequency of gender-coded words in UK recruitment.
Within these job adverts, they found 478,175 words which carry gender bias. This is an average of 6 male-coded or female-coded words per job advert.
The research shows that while that many industries are making real strides towards greater inclusivity, gender-coded words are rife within UK job adverts, and are serving to unintentionally uphold gender-stereotypes. 
The wording of ads for senior level positions was more likely to be skewed towards male applicants. The City of London was the location most likely to use male biased language, with Manchester leading the way in the use of gender neutral language.
The aim of the study is to enable employers to receive more (and more relevant)  applications for their vacancies, and with this in mind totaljobs have launched the  totaljobs Gender Bias Decoder, which will help employers to check job descriptions for any unconscious bias. To find out more, click here
It would be interesting to know to what extent the skewing of the vocabulary used in job ads correlates with salaries, both as advertised, and as actually offered.

14 November 2017

Gender pay gap starts at home

Every year there’s a statistic that puzzles me – that boys apparently get more pocket money than girls.

This year’s Childwise Monitor Report has been quoted as finding that boys aged 5 to 16 get on average £2.20 a week more than girls of the same age, and that girls are far more likely to receive no regular income at all.  Girls were also given less financial freedom, with items being bought for them, rather than them choosing what to spend their money on.  
These findings have been consistent over at least two decades, and I do believe there must be something in them.

And if so, it’s worrying. First, why would a parent, or other family member, give a boy more pocket money than a girl? It just wouldn’t have occurred to me to do so. My children’s father and I gave our son and daughter the same weekly amounts at the same age, and it would not have occurred to us to do otherwise. What’s going on?

Second, why should a girl’s financial education be any different to that of a boy? As Childwise Research manager Jenny Ehren said “The data points towards an early gender imbalance in the way parents educate their children about money matters and financial independence. Boys are more likely to be entrusted with regular cash payments, while girls are more reliant on other people buying them items, or managing money on their behalf.”

So, it’s not just that families are perpetuating a gender divide in income, they’re also perpetuating a gender divide in financial awareness – but surely, we all need to know how to manage our finances. And when it comes to negotiating our salaries, if we enter into those negotiations knowing that we are worth more or less than our siblings, isn’t this going to influence our expectations about how much we should be paid? It’s no good lamenting that women ask for less than men do when we’re bringing them up to do so. 

3 November 2017

UK ranks 53rd in the world for gender equality

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017 benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In addition, this year’s edition also analyses the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations.

The Report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the global gender gap and of efforts and insights to close it. The Index points to potential role models by revealing those countries that—within their region or their income group—are leaders in having divided resources more equitably between women and men than other countries have, regardless of the overall level of resources available. The Report’s detailed Country Profiles and online Data Explorer tool not only allow users to understand how close each country has come to the equality benchmark in each of the four dimensions examined by the Index, but also provide a snapshot of the legal and social framework within which these outcomes are produced. The magnitude of gender gaps in countries around the world is the combined result of various socioeconomic, policy and cultural variables.

The Global Gender Gap Index was developed in 2006 partially to address the need for a consistent and comprehensive measure for gender equality that can track a country’s progress over time. The Index does not seek to set priorities for countries but rather to provide a comprehensive set of data and a clear method for tracking gaps on critical indicators so that countries may set priorities within their own economic, political and cultural contexts.

The UK ranks 53rd on the economic participation and opportunity indicator – see page 332 of the report.

You can access the report here

2 November 2017

European Equal Pay Day - fact sheet on gender pay gap in the UK

According to a press release issued by the European Commission today, the average hourly pay of women in Europe is 16.3 per cent lower than that of men. 
European Equal Pay Day, which falls on 3 November this year, marks the moment when women effectively stop getting paid compared to their male colleagues, with almost two months of the year remaining.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioner Marianne Thyssen and Commissioner Věra Jourová said:
"Gender equality, including equal pay for men and women, is one of the EU's founding values. But it is still far from a reality. For the past years, the gender pay gap has basically refused to budge.
This means that women work for two months a year for free in comparison to their male colleagues. This is a shocking and unacceptable injustice in the 21st century Europe.
We urgently need to make progress with this stubborn issue, which affects women and our societies on many other points: Women still tend to work in lesser-paid sectors, get fewer promotions and are underrepresented in management positions. And single-parent households with women as the sole breadwinner are more exposed to poverty, including child poverty and consequent disadvantages.
Pay gap is not the only problem. Recent revelations on sexual harassment underline the sometimes hostile working environments which women also have to face, with obvious consequences for their professional development and well-being.
The European Commission wants to lead the way to fight this injusticeIn a few weeks, we will present an Action Plan to Tackle the Gender Pay Gap. This will step up ongoing actions and present new measures.
In November we will also host a Colloquium on 'Women's Rights in Turbulent Times' and will dedicate part of the programme to finding new solutions to tackle the gender pay gap. Around that same time, the European Pillar of Social Rights will be proclaimed on the highest level, reaffirming that women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.
Europeans are more aware of inequalities between the sexes than ever before, as we have seen in the recent #MeToo campaign on social media, and we must seize on the momentum this creates to take action and change behaviours. On European Equal Pay Day we commit to defend equal rights and opportunities on the labour market for women and men, and we will continue to do so until the EU becomes a truly good address for women."
In the EU, women perform equally well or even better in education than men, but this is not reflected in the labour market. In 2016, 33 per cent of women in the EU had completed tertiary education, compared to 29 per cent of men. At the same time, the overall employment rate of women is 11.6pp lower than that of men. Women also continue to be under-represented at top-level positions in the largest companies in the EU. Only 1 in 14 board chairs, and 1 in 20 CEOs are women.
For More Information

26 October 2017

£3.5 million paid out in equal pay claim

St Helens Council has been ordered by the Employment Tribunal to pay £3.5 million to claimants in an equal pay case that has been ongoing for a number of years, going through the Employment Appeal Tribunal before the council chose not to take proceedings to the Court of Appeal.

The recipients of the claims were members of the GMB union, and some have now been awarded five-figure sums by the court.

This is the third major equal pay claim that has been won by the union in the north west, with Knowsley and Liverpool also paying out multi-million sums to claimants.

“This is a huge victory for GMB members at St Helens Council – and for equal rights in general,” commented Paul McCarthy, GMB regional secretary. “The authority used every legal argument they could to avoid paying out but after years of wasting everyone’s time they failed.

27 September 2017

Scottish Councils taken to task over equal pay claims

Councils across Scotland are not doing enough to resolve the long-standing issues with equal pay, according to a report from the Accounts Commission.
The public spending watchdog in Scotland has reviewed how effectively councils have implemented the Single Status Agreement (SSA) or the ‘Red Book’ since it was introduced in 1999. The Commission found that around £750m has already been spent on claims so far with nearly 27,000 claims still outstanding.
The SSA was introduced to streamline the pay structures of different groups of council employees and to help to eliminate historical inequalities within councils across the country.
Over the decades, women have frequently received less pay than men for doing the same job despite the Equal Pay Act’s introduction in 1970, which makes it illegal to discriminate between men and women in all contractual terms of employment, which includes pay and conditions.
“Councils need to be confident that pay equality is embedded in how they operate.” Pauline Weetman, Accounts Commission member, said: “Equal pay is both an incredibly important issue and a legal duty for Scotland's councils, to eliminate decades of inequality. However, implementation of equal pay has been a substantial challenge for local government.

“Councils need to be confident that pay equality is embedded in how they operate. It's critical that officers ensure that they're doing all they can to fulfil their duties in relation to equal pay and publicly report this work and that elected members continue to scrutinise and challenge their progress.”
The Accounts Commission found that implementing the SSA was a “costly and complex process”, for which local authorities “underestimated” the challenges involved.
Thirty-one of the 32 councils missed the 2004 deadline for implementing the agreement, and it took more than a decade for local authorities to carry this out. It was completed by 2010.
Responding to the report, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We welcome recent progress, but it is just not good enough that our local authorities still have so many equal pay claims outstanding. Given councils have legal obligations on equal pay there is no justification for this taking so long. While ministers have no legal powers to intervene in claims, they expect each authority to note this report and take urgent action.
In its report, the Accounts Commission recommended that both councils and councillors must ensure that their pay arrangements are “fair and transparent”. This would include publishing equal pay statements and policies and assessing the impact of organisation changes in the council that will affect arrangements in the future.

You can read the report here.

28 June 2017

Retirement income gender gap grows by £1,000

  • Women retiring in 2017 will be £6,400 a year worse off than men
  • The annual retirement income gender gap has grown by  £1,000, from a gap of £5,400  in 2016
  • Women’s expected retirement incomes stagnate while men’s continue to grow
The gap between women’s and men’s annual average expected retirement incomes in 2017 has grown by £1,000 in the last year, according to new research from Prudential.

The unique annual research has, over the last 10 years, tracked the future financial plans and aspirations of people planning to retire in the year ahead. This year’s Class of 2017 research shows that women expecting to retire this year will be £6,400 a year worse off on average than their male counterparts, and nearly £200 a year worse off than women who retired in 2016.

Women this year expect an average annual retirement income of £14,300, which is the second highest on record although slightly down on the £14,500 for those retiring in 2016. This year’s female retirees are feeling slightly more confident about their finances, however, with 50 per cent saying they are financially well-prepared for retirement, compared with 48 per cent in 2016.

Meanwhile, as women’s incomes stagnate, men’s expected retirement incomes have shown a fifth consecutive year of growth. Men retiring this year expect an annual retirement income of £20,700 – £900 a year more than last year which is helping drive the gender gap to its highest level for three years.

The Prudential study, which has tracked the retirement income gender gap for 10 years, shows that men retiring this year will be 45 per cent better-off than women. The gender gap was at its widest in 2008 when the average expected retirement income for men was 84 per cent higher than that expected by women.

You can read the full press release here

Scottish Ministers urged to take action on gender pay gap

Scottish ministers are being urged to develop an overarching strategy to tackle the gender pay gap. In the report of its wide ranging inquiry into the gender pay gap in Scotland, the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Jobs and Fair Work Committee have made a long list of recommendations which, if implemented, would contribute to the development of an overarching strategy to tackle the gender pay gap.  The Committee wants the strategy to include an action plan and measurable targets.

The Committee’s recommendations include:

  • Developing a suite of indicators to measure the underlying causes of the gender pay gap, using a comprehensive data set that includes part-time workers;
  • Introducing a more thorough analysis of the economic benefits of reducing the gender pay gap;
  • Carrying out a gendered analysis of education in Scotland;
  • Monitoring the number and success rate of flexible working requests made in Scotland, in both the public and private sector;
  • Increasing wages in care beyond the living wage to more accurately reflect the value of the work undertaken;
  • Encourages all businesses to create an action plan to tackle their own gender pay gap; the Committee also recommends that the Scottish Government put in place guidance to support employers in creating such a plan.
The report also includes a number of recommendations aimed at getting the Scottish Government’s business partners both to get more girls into STEM subjects and occupations, and to engage with tackling the gender pay gap.

The Committee acknowledges the willingness of the Scottish Government to address the issue, and feels there is an opportunity for Scotland to become a world leader in reducing the gender pay gap. The report and the Committee’s recommendations are intended to set the groundwork for this.

You can read the report here.

21 June 2017

Extension of pay gap monitoring to race unlikely

The Queen’s Speech has this to say on pay gap monitoring:

“My Government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation.”

Gender Pay Gap
  • This year we introduced mandatory Gender Pay Gap reporting regulations for large employers.
  • To help tackle the causes of the Gender Pay Gap, we have introduced Shared Parental Leave, and extended the right to request Flexible Working. We are also doubling the free childcare entitlements for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, and we introduced Tax-Free Childcare from April 2017. In the 2017 Budget, we allocated £5 million to support returners who have taken a break from work. 


  • The Race Disparity Audit was announced in August 2016 to look into racial disparities in public services stretching right across Government. The report will be published later this year. It will highlight the differences in outcomes for people of different backgrounds in every area from health to education, employment to welfare, skills and criminal justice.
  • The Government welcomed Ruby McGregor-Smith’s review of 'Race in the workplace', and we are working with Sir John Parker, Chairman of Anglo American Plc., to improve the ethnic diversity of boards by 2021.

Tackling the gender pay gap and discrimination is listed as a non-legislative initiative.

You can find the background notes that accompany the Queen’s Speech here.

11 May 2017

Gender pay gap in higher education

Fascinating table of salaries in UK universities recently published by Times Higher Education.   

The analysis reveals that the overall pay gap between male and female academics in the UK was 10.53 per cent in 2015-16, a 0.43 percentage point decrease on 2014-15.

It marks the fifth consecutive year that the gap has narrowed. However, while across the UK, the gender pay gap for professors remained smaller at 5.83 per cent, this represented an increase on the year before of 0.06 percentage points.

More men than women expect a pay rise and a promotion

While one in three UK employees plan to pitch their bosses for extra pay and take a step up the job ladder with a promotion this year, male employees were much more likely to make a bid for this double progression than their female colleagues. 40 per cent of male jobseekers questioned by job search engine Adzuna are planning on a pay rise and a promotion in 2017, with just 25 per cent of women setting their sights on this dual goal.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, commented: “A gender divide seems to be alive and well, according to this study. Although equal numbers of men and women planned to pick up a pay rise this year, far more men than women also hankered after a promotion from their current role. There may be some unrealistic male bravado here, but women also need to raise their expectations (and employers to promote them) if we are to see more equality in senior positions.”

Isn’t it time we asked why there is a gender divide in expectations? A gender divide neither explains or excuses a gender pay gap, it describes it, and begs the question – what are organisations doing that encourages men to have higher expectations than women?

You can read the full post here.

5 May 2017

For no apparent reason, the gender pay gap in marketing widens

The gender pay gap in marketing has widened significantly over the past year according to the B2B Marketing Salary Survey 2017-18. While the average annual male salary rose to £56,529, the average female salary fell to £42,193.

The research, carried out by B2B Marketing in partnership with The Jefferson Group, also found that average B2B marketing salary has fallen by more than £1500, with the average annual salary for B2B marketers this year being £46,442, a 3.4 per cent drop over the past 12 months. 

Other findings include:

  • Pay in London outstrips the rest of the UK: The average salary in London is £55,074, £13,000 more than the average for the rest of the UK (£41,604).
  • It pays to develop a broad skillset: The average salary of a generalist marketer is higher than the average salary of those who specialise.
  • Professional development has a big impact on salary: Holding a professional marketing qualification, such as a certificate or a diploma, can add more than £5000 to the average annual salary.
What interests me most about this is that a widening of the gap in a single year ( my emphasis) as measured by both an increase in the average male salary and a decrease in the average female salary cannot possibly be down to the motherhood effect.  

What is going on? Would someone like to explain?  Offer some assurance to women working in the industry? Unfortunately, in their press release, neither Joel Harrison, editor-in-chief and co-founder of B2B Marketing, nor Tom Howe, managing partner of The Jefferson Group found the widening of the gender pay gap worthy of comment,

28 April 2017

Gender Pay gap Reporting – Government Site now live

The Government site that employers caught by the gender pay gap regulations are required to upload their data onto – the Gender Pay Gap Viewing service – went live at the beginning of this week. The site is well-laid out and easy to read, and the headline figures are backed up by access to a spreadsheet which, over time, will be populated with data from all participating employers.

The site can be found here

Of the five reports up on the site at the end of its first week, only one provides a link to the employer’s own report, and only three provide the name of the person responsible for signing off the report. This does not bode well! 

14 April 2017

Does the gender pay gap prevent women from investing?

In a thinly disguised ad for the wealth management company, Moneyfarm, the company is pointing the finger at the gender pay gap as having a direct impact on women’s ability to invest in their future. Moneyfarm’s research shows that almost one in four women (24 per cent) say they do not have any disposable income in a typical month - versus just 14 per cent of men. 

But this isn’t just about the gender pay gap, it’s also about more women than men being low paid, about more women than men bearing the costs of childcare, and about the distribution of income within households.  Moneyfarm is right to want to encourage investment, and right to suggest that the gender pay gap has an impact on women’s ability to invest, but the fact that they don’t goes way beyond the male/female earnings’ divide to much broader societal issues. 

13 April 2017

Met Chief spurns equal pay?

A thoughtful commentary from Ruth Thomas on Cressida Dick’s decision to take a lower salary than she had been offered.

Media coverage has understandably focused on this as a matter of equal pay, but without recognising that equal pay isn’t just about women – all things being equal –receiving less than they should, but also about the elephant in the room: those situations in which men – all things being equal – get more than they should. It’s possible that Cressida Dick’s decision is an acknowledgement of the elephant in the room, in which case, more power to her elbow! 

24 March 2017

Demystifying the gender pay gap

In a re-issue of a March 2016 multi-country study recruitment giant Glassdoor® reveals the “unadjusted” and “adjusted” gender pay gaps among employees in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Germany and France. The report has been republicised in the light of the gender pay gap reporting regulations, which come into effect in April this year.

Using Glassdoor’s unique data set of hundreds of thousands of salary reports from employees online, the study goes much further than simply looking at average salaries by gender, as is the case for the statistics produced by the UK’s Office for National Statistics.  In producing this report, Glassdoor has statistically controlled for factors such as employee characteristics, location, job title, employer and more. In addition, the study reveals what is – and what isn’t – causing the gender pay gap and provides policy recommendations to target these causes and help reduce the gap.
Demystifying the Gender Pay Gap reveals the gender pay gap is real and significant across each country, consistent with official sources. The study finds that in the UK on average, women earn about 77p for every pound a man earns. The study refers to this simple explanation of the gap as the “unadjusted” gender pay gap. However, to better understand what’s going on at the individual employee level, the study also reveals the “adjusted” gender pay gap by controlling for a wide-range of factors including employee age, years of experience, education level, location, job title and employer.
For example, in the UK, the adjusted gender pay gap is 5.5 percent, and while smaller than widely reported figures, it is significant a gender pay gap remains even after comparing similar workers down to the specific job titles and companies. In other words, a woman with the same job title, at the same employer, in the same location, with a comparable age, education and years of experience, will still be paid over five percent less than a man. This finding is consistent across each country the report studies.
To better understand the causes of the gender pay gap, the study divides the overall gap into what can be “explained” due to differences in worker characteristics (e.g., age, education, etc.) and what remains “unexplained.”

Glassdoor researchers found that the majority (64 percent) of the overall UK pay gap can be explained, while 36 percent of the overall pay gap cannot be explained by any factors observable in Glassdoor data. This means the unexplained pay gap may very well be attributed to workplace bias (whether intentional or not), negotiation gaps between men and women and/or other unobserved worker characteristics. It comes as no surprise that the study reveals that the largest contributing factor to the gender pay gap is explained by differences in how men and women sort into occupations and industries with varying earning potential. This finding is consistent across all five countries, and in the UK, it makes up more than two thirds (38 percent) of the unadjusted gender pay gap.

 “Women and men tend pursue different career paths early in life and then sort into different industries and occupations, which, in large part, is due to a variety of societal expectations and traditional gender norms. This is the single largest factor we see contributing to today’s gender pay gap,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist.

This may explain the gender pay gap, but it doesn’t excuse it. First, why should the work that women do be valued any less than the work that men do – why do we pay people more for looking after our cars than for looking after our children and our frail elderly? Second, why do women feel bound by societal expectations? And third, how much do young women starting out on a career path know about the extent to which following societal expectations will impact on their lifetime earnings?

A positive vision for equality and human rights in Britain

Government Brexit plans are showing a lack of ambition for equality and human rights standards, Equality and Human Rights Commission Chair David Isaac has warned.

Publishing a 5 point plan on how Britain’s status as a world leader on equality and human rights can be maintained and strengthened after we leave the European Union, Mr Isaac has called for the government to set out its vision for a fairer Britain once we leave the EU and demonstrate how it will take a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a shared society and heal the divisions exposed during and since the referendum campaign.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission argues that Britain has a long history of upholding people’s rights, valuing diversity and challenging intolerance. At this moment of significant constitutional change, it is important to set out a positive vision for the kind of country we want to be after we have left the EU. Building on our heritage of respect and inclusion, the Commission will encourage all political parties to pursue five priorities to protect and promote equality and human rights in the UK:
  • protecting parliamentary sovereignty over the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework
  • retaining the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework as we leave the European Union
  • ensuring the UK is a global leader on equality and human rights
  • protecting the UK’s equality and human rights infrastructure
  • promoting the UK as an open and fair place to live and do business
While each of these five priorities implicitly encompasses the issues of equal pay and the gender pay gap, it would have been good to have seen explicit mention of the topic, not only because this is an area in which the development of EU jurisprudence has played a key role, but most importantly because women’s economic independence is central to the achievement of equality of opportunity.

David Isaac said:
We’ve had calls for all kinds of Brexit. A soft Brexit, a hard Brexit and a red, white and blue Brexit. No one is talking about a fair Brexit - one that will unite the country and lead us to a shared society based on fairness and mutual respect the Prime Minister has talked about.
“At any crossroads there are important decisions to be made. We can either set out the positive requirements to maintain our traditions of respect for equality and human rights and be a country that really does work for everyone, or we can miss this golden opportunity to demonstrate how post-Brexit Britain can create a fairer and more united Britain.”

10 March 2017

Icelandic employers to be audited on how jobs are valued

Iceland marked International Women’s Day 2017 by requiring companies to prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality.

Companies with more than 25 employees on their books will need equal pay certification under new laws coming into force in spring 2018.

Þorsteinn Víglundsson, Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Equality said that businesses opposed the law at every level, but they were necessary as Iceland has not moved closely enough towards closing the disparity in earnings between men and women. The country has set a target of eradicating the gender pay gap completely by 2022.

Iceland’s gender pay gap is 15 per cent. Britain’s is 18 per cent.

Iceland has been at the forefront of a push towards gender parity of pay and for the past eight years has come first on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Pay Index. The UK ranks 18th.

Iceland has introduced a number of measures to reduce the gender pay gap in the country, including greatly improved parental leave schemes aimed at ensuring that having children doesn’t hold women back, and quotas of minimum 40 per cent women on boards of companies with 50 employees or more. This move has had a significant impact on representation, increasing the ratio of women on boards from between 20 per cent to around 37 per cent.

Under the new certification law, companies will be required to document how they value education, experience, responsibility and all other performance factors they incorporate into their pay system. Each company will be audited. The audit reports will be published and companies which fail audits will have to notify employees and unions. Individual employees would then have the right to seek compensation.

Mr Víglundsson said “We need to have the ambition and boldness really to try new methods of decreasing the gender-based pay gap. This is our next step in that direction, getting the equal pay system enforced into law.” 

7 March 2017

Women’s Pay Day

In a reversal of Equal Pay Day, which takes place in November on the date on which the average woman stops getting paid, compared to the average man, new analysis by the TUC, prepared for Women’s Pay Day – the 7th March – reveals that the average woman has to wait nearly a fifth of a year (66 days) before she starts to get paid, compared to the average man.

The current gender pay gap for all full-time and part-time male and female employees stands at 18 per cent. This pay gap means that across the board women effectively work for free for the first 66 days of the year.

In a number of key industries – even in jobs dominated by female workers – women have to wait until even later in the year for their Women’s Pay Day:

  • In education, the gender pay gap is currently 27 per cent, so the average woman effectively works for free for more than a quarter of the year (97 days) and has to wait until the 7 April before she starts earning the same as the average man.
  • In health and social work, the average woman waits 69 days for her Women’s Pay Day on 10 March.
  • The longest wait for Women’s Pay Day comes in finance and insurance. There the gender pay gap is the equivalent of 137 days, more than a third of the year.

Women’s Pay Day by industry

% gender pay gap
Number of days
Women’s Pay Day
Transport and storage
Accommodation and food services
Sewerage and waste management
Admin and support services
Agriculture, forestry and fishing
Real estate
Arts, entertainment and recreation
Public admin and defence
66 days
Wholesale and retail, motor vehicle repair
Human health and social work
Information and communication
Professional, scientific and technical
Other service activities
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning
Financial and insurance
 Source the Office for National Statistics,  Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings,  2016.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The UK has one of the worst gender pay gaps in Europe. Even in industries where women dominate, like education, they get paid far less than men. Paying lip service to the problem is not good enough. Companies that don’t pay women the same as men for work of equal value are breaking the law. But with Employment Tribunal fees of £1,200, too few women can afford to access justice when bad bosses break the law."

The TUC is calling on the government to:
  1. End discriminatory pay: through equal pay audits, tougher sanctions on employers who don’t play fair, and ending employment tribunal fees so women who are discriminated against can access justice.
  2. Tackle occupational segregation: getting more women into better paid jobs like engineering through good careers advice, the apprenticeships system and removing discrimination and prejudice.
  3. Improve pay for “women’s work”: through valuing important jobs which are done by predominantly female staff, like nursery nurses or carers, by increasing pay, progression and status.
  4. Tackle the motherhood pay penalty: through a combination of tackling pregnancy discrimination, improving access to flexible work, creating more well-paid, high-skilled part-time jobs and giving dads better opportunities to share parental leave and work flexibly so it’s not all about women putting their careers on hold to raise a family.