Over three-quarters of UK companies pay men more on average than women

Written by Oliver Wade
05/04/2018

Latest figures illustrate that, of the 10,000 companies that submitted gender pay gap data, 78% of them pay men more on average than women, while 14% of firms pay women more, according to the BBC’s analysis of the reports.

Only 8% of the companies that submitted data claimed that there was “no pay gap” between how much their male and female employees.

Despite this, the gender pay gap does not mean that men are being paid more than women for undertaking the same role, as that would be illegal. Men and women with the same jobs have to receive equal pay.

However, the pay gap does represent the number of men in senior positions compared to women, which therefore results in a higher salary. A pay gap can also arise if women are deemed to be less experienced than their male counterparts, or if women suffer a hit to their salary upon returning from extended periods of leave, such as maternity leave.

Of the 10,000 companies that had to report their gender pay gap, 1,000 of them submitted their data on the final day of submission, but Equality and Human Rights (EHRC) chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath reported that approximately 1,500 companies still have not provided their data.

" We're obviously pleased with the rate of reporting, but it is the law, it's not an option. It is the right thing to do, and we will be enforcing against all those organisations which failed to meet the deadline,” Hilsenrath said.

The EHRC will be sending letters to those companies that did not submit their data on Monday, initiating a statutory investigation process. Upon receiving the letter, firms will have 28 days to respond and the terms of reference will be issued for the enforcement process which will be made public.

Hilsenrath further commented: “This is going to be a very public affair. It will impact quite considerably on members of the public, people who work for them, and you'll see a growing backlash against people who aren't complying.”

The EHRC has said that it will also take action against those firms that have submitted implausible figures, as those companies will face adverse publicity and potentially receive court summons.

“The court will fine, and the process will result in a summary conviction, and unlimited fines set by the court," Hilsenrath added.

The EHRC chief executive wants firms to consider and tackle both “conscious and unconscious” bias in the workplace, particularly addressing instances of pregnancy and maternity pay discrimination, which the EHRC reported is “rising in this country”.

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