Gender pay gap reporting – the practicalities

18 May 2017

A quick recap on the legislation

The legislation on gender pay gap reporting came into force in April this year meaning employers need to report their mean and median gender pay gaps if they have 250 or more employees.

The regulations are in places complex and RSM have been helping employers navigate through some of the more challenging areas. For example, the number of reports they might have to run and who they need to include in their calculations. It all sounds simple enough but for some organisations this has not been completely straight forward.

There is also a good deal of thought required around how individual companies need to treat their pay elements to ensure they stay in line with the regulations.

The practicalities

It is really not that surprising that employers are hanging back from publishing as it is likely they will be concerned about what their figures might say about them externally and also to their own employees if they have exposed a large gap. This is why many employers will be spending this time analysing their figures and thinking about how to position them with a narrative. They may also be considering what steps they need to take to close the gap.

Employers will be well placed to remember that having a gender pay gap does not necessarily mean they have an equal pay issue, although they should explore this possibility to rule it out. Employers concerned by what they have uncovered should seek professional advice.

The reasons employers have gender pay gaps is complex and according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) it is thought the underlying causes could be:

  • more women work in lower paid jobs or sectors;
  • women are more likely to work part-time, which can mean a lower rate of pay; and
  • women are under-represented in senior roles. This may be due to stereotypical attitudes about gender roles, lack of flexible working or women taking time to look after their family.

Some companies will use this exercise as an opportunity to review their HR strategy ensuring gender diversity is focused on. Others will think about what strategies they could put in place to attract, recruit and women such as:

  • using programmes similar to those in schools to introduce women to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries;
  • anonymous recruitment;
  • gender specific mentoring programmes committed to developing female potential;
  • senior management development programmes aimed at women; 
  • offering returnships for those women that previously held senior positions and decided to take a career break for motherhood; and
  • increase flexibility, introduce remote working, family friendly initiatives and enhanced maternity packages.

Employers struggling to cope with this task can contact Steve Sweetlove. RSM would be delighted to speak to you further on any aspect of gender pay gap reporting.