The big gap in reporting gender pay

BY Simon Lake

From 6 April 2017, companies with more than 250 staff are required to annually report on their gender pay gap. This must be published on both their own and government websites.

The following information is required:

  • mean gender pay gap in hourly pay
  • median gender pay gap in hourly pay
  • mean bonus gender pay gap
  • median bonus gender pay gap
  • proportion of males and females receiving a bonus payment
  • proportion of males and females in each pay quartile

Although some companies have chosen to include this information in the annual report, an article in the Financial Times today (08.05.17) states that of the 9,000 companies who must now comply, only 5 (including a window-blind manufacturer, an umbrella company and a cleaning company) have published their data on government websites.[1]

Business, charities and public sector organisations are all required to publish the data under the new regulations.

Employers have until April 2018 to publish the figures, but given the pre-emption, the government had hoped that there would have been a larger number of early adopters.

It is possible that there are reputational and technical reasons that companies are slow to release their figures. Companies are likely to be anxious about how the statistics will make them look to both the public and their employees.

When taking into account full- and part-time employees the current national gender pay gap was 18.1% at April 2016, although the lowest this has been in the economy since 1997, it is hoped that the new regulations will reduce this further.[2]

But many companies are publishing figures that are much higher than this. At April 2016, Virgin Money had a gender pay gap of 36%.

Companies should seek to publish the information in the most accurate and timely manner. It is likely that larger companies will take their time, ensuring correct figures, appropriate accompanying narrative and managing the associated risks. That said, there is a reputational risk involved in not doing so. As always, it is often more telling what you don’t say.


[1] https://www.ft.com/content/a0b4e202-331d-11e7-99bd-13beb0903fa3

[2] https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/