Thursday 14th November officially marked Equal Pay Day 2019 – the point in the calendar at which the average man has earned what the average woman annually.
While the gender gap in the UK has been steadily closing, this year, the ONS states the average gender pay gap between men and women in full-time work stands at 13.1 per cent. Some of the reasons for the wage disparity include women working in lower-paid jobs as well as being underrepresented in senior roles.
Almost fifty years on from the Equal Pay Act 1970, equal pay is far from being a reality for women. In light of this, and ahead of the 50th anniversary, Instant Offices looks into the steps taken to address the gender pay gap, and how effective they’ve been.
According to the data revealed by the ONS last year, Britain had the fifth largest gender pay gap in Europe behind Estonia, Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria, but was ahead of countries like Poland and Greece. In London, the gender pay gap barely changed in over two decades, narrowing a mere 0.5 per cent, with full-time female employees earning on average 14.6 per cent less per hour than their male counterparts, compared to 1997 when the gender gap sat at 15.1 per cent. However, due to the difference in male and female salaries, women generally start ‘working for free’ in the UK from around the second week in November.
A few ways companies can help narrow the gender gap:
Incentivise paternity leave – Fathers are granted 90 days leave, which is allocated on a use-it-or-lose-it basis, which means that if the father does not take time off work, then the couple as a whole will lose out on three months paid leave.
Subsidise childcare – According to research, companies providing childcare services saw reductions in employee turnover, increased productivity, and improved quality in job applicants.
Introduce remote working –The Fawcett Society continues to call on employers to provide roles that are flexible, part-time or a job share. According to the TUC, flexible working has real benefits for businesses, with employees proving to be more dedicated and productive.
Be transparent about pay – Businesses should research market rates for a role and offer a fair salary for the job they are hiring for. It is also a good idea to explain how your business determines salaries and pay increases upfront so that the candidate can make an informed decision about joining your company or not.
Ensure that promotions and rewards are fair – Disparity in pay can quickly occur when employees are offered promotions, pay raises or bonuses. Businesses must ensure that these are not in favour of male employees and that everyone has a fair chance of receiving a promotion, reward, or salary increase.