Insert gender pay click bait here…

There is a lot in the press at the moment about the imminent requirement for companies with over 250 employees to declare their gender pay gap figure.

You will have seen attention grabbing headlines like

Women are working two hours for free each week


Men earn 14% more than their female counterparts

All of which completely get it wrong and even industry specialist publications are doing it!

Gender pay reporting is not the same as equal pay as covered under the Equality Act

What do I mean?

Lets take an example of a company that employees 700 people as per the table below:

Role Male Salary Female Salary
Directors 3 £100,000 1 £100,000
Managers 10 £50,000 8 £50,000
Supervisors 5 £28,000 9 £28,000
Staff 250 £18,500 414 £18,500
Totals 268 £5,565,000 432 £8,411,000

Here we have a situation where all of the salaries are of equal value by role type.

So what is the gender pay gap in this example?

Well using an averaging approach we would see a gender pay gap of just over 6%

Average Male Salary £20,765
Average Female Salary £19,470
Difference £1,295
Pay Gap 6.65%

So this shows it can be possible to meet the requirements of the Equality act but still have a pay gap that you will need to report.

The gender pay gap reporting requirements haven’t been clearly defined at this time and this example has used a simple method that has been used before and that may well change (we hope!)

So what is the issue?

Well it is complicated, there are no doubt some businesses out there who are paying less to the female workers than their males, and with luck the gender pay reporting will help to flush these out.

Business that operate a broad band principle for the salaries will have issues trying to explain to the masses why there are differences.

But the real issue is an issue in our society, in what roles are deemed male jobs and which are deemed female jobs and how we go about structuring our work place and introducing flexibilities that allow us to be inclusive in all roles.

Catherine Bennett from Salary Exchange summarised this well here in her LinkedIn pulse article:

A Tesco case study

I remember when Tesco looked to increase the amount of female workers in its distribution network, it required a wholesale change in approach, recruitment needed to be targeted differently, induction changed, shift working reviewed, flexible working policy review and the way whole distribution centres (of up to 1,300 people in one site) was scheduled to deliver the work.

All of this effort changed the percentage of females in logistics roles from 14% to 30%

The effort to deliver a 16% difference was huge but worthwhile.

Any change is going to take time, we will need to see a real change in the way we look at jobs and the whole recruitment and retention processes and I don’t think that any one company is going to fix this overnight, but you probably need to start thinking about it now!

But the next time you see a headline stating that X company has a gender pay gap of 10% or that people of any gender are working for free please please take these for what they are…


noun: clickbait; noun: click bait
  1. (on the Internet) content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.

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