Last year saw the first mandatory gender pay gap reporting take place. By law, all organisations with more than 250 employees must publish their gender pay gap. The deadline for the second year of gender pay gap reporting was yesterday 4 April 2019 at midnight for private organisations. The deadline for the public sector was 31 March 2019.
MP Rachel Reeves, chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee, commented, “The figures show there is a long way to go to tackle the gender pay gap. Too few businesses simply file the stats and then carry on as usual, failing to examine why they aren’t attracting female talent, why these pay gaps exist in their firms, and what they need to do to change it,”
According to the BBC, 10,428 firms had filed pay comparison data. The total is roughly the same as last year, but it is unclear how many firms have failed to respond, since the government has no definitive list of companies required to file figures.
The BBC, which has faced criticism about its own male-female pay policies, also analysed comparison data and found that fewer than half of the UK’s biggest employers had narrowed their gender pay gap. Its analysis showed that across 45% of firms, the discrepancy in pay increased in favour of men, while at a further 7% there was no change.
The BBC stated that the individual company data reflects information submitted by companies to the Government Equalities Office. It added that all gender pay gap figures in its analysis reflect the hourly median pay gap for all employees.
The largest pay gaps among companies with 5,000 or more employees were Countrywide Services at 60.6%, which was down from 63.4% last year; Independent Vetcare at 48.3% (50.5%); Easyjet at 47.9% (45.5%). The BBC noted that finance firms often have the largest pay gaps.
Among firms reporting the biggest increases in pay gaps were garage chain Kwik Fit, Interserve FS (part of the Interserve Group), and car retailer Inchcape.
Sam Smethers, Chief Executive at The Fawcett Society, commented, “One year on, it is disappointing, but not surprising, that there are so many employers in the UK with large pay gaps and that these pay gaps aren’t being closed. The regulations are not tough enough. It’s time for action plans not excuses.”
Ornella Nsio, policy advisor at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, commented, “It is disappointing to see that there has been little change in the UK’s gender pay gap figures from last year, although we understand that progress will take time.”
“As skills shortages continue to worsen, employers will have to look to under-represented groups to fill vacancies, and they will only attract those candidates by using inclusive recruitment practices such as advertising roles on a wide variety of platforms and offering flexible working as standard for all roles. Recruitment agencies are helping their clients to take tangible steps to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and help the UK’s economy to thrive,” Nsio said.