Written by
Ruth Thomas
Senior Consultant and Co-Founder, CURO

09 January 2020

New Year's celebrations had extra significance to them this year, as we entered a new decade which has quickly been coined the Roaring Twenties, after the celebrated period of economic and social transition a century ago.

Interestingly, this period was recognized as a significant period of women’s emancipation. During this time the Women’s Liberation movement was founded, women gained the right to vote, and many women chose to cut their hair and shorten their skirts.

Let’s hope that this new analogous decade can deliver the same societal changes required to bring about much needed gender equality.

One of the first significant dates of 2020 is the April 4th UK Gender Pay Gap Reporting deadline under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. This Act applies to organizations with 250 or more employees and statutory metrics need to be uploaded to the Governments Gender Pay Gap portal by the impending deadline. (For relevant public sector organizations, the deadline is 30 March 2020).

To date, just over 5% of companies have chosen to upload their data, and publicly disclose results. We assume there will be the same late rush to comply as there was last year - when over 20% of companies uploaded their data in the week before the deadline.

A few notable, large employers have already published their data including the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Deloitte, Allen & Overy and Marks and Spencer. The three year trend for these companies shows limited progress in closing median pay gaps, but this is in line with all reporting companies. In fact, more companies saw an increase in their median pay gap during last year’s reporting period (51%) than a decrease.

This slow progress also mirrors the Office for National Statistics' own records, which are based on the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) calculated using median gross hourly earnings (excluding overtime). The gender pay gap reported by ONS is a long time-series, which samples all employee jobs in all sizes of company. This is different from the gender pay gap based on compulsory reporting for companies mentioned above.  For all employees in 2009, the reported gender pay gap was 22%. The equivalent figure for 2019 was 17.3%. This means at current rates of progression it will take until 2055 (another 35 years) to close the gender pay gap!

So as we roll into the Roaring Twenties, it’s time for employers to get serious about understanding why pay gaps exist in their organizations so we can increase the pace at which pay gaps reduce.

Too many companies try to explain away their pay gap as a representation issue (because there are more men than women in senior positions.) But this only describes the symptoms and not the root cause. The pay gap exists for many complex reasons.

In addition to both direct and indirect discrimination impacting recruitment and career progression, there are issues such as occupational segregation, caring responsibilities and part-time roles shared unequally and women choosing to work in low-paid roles and sectors to gain job flexibility.

Understanding how these gender pay equity issues impact your organization and creating meaningful action plans will drive progress, but too few employers are tackling this head on.

Let CURO help you this reporting deadline.

CuroGPG is a complete solution for UK gender pay gap compliance, insights and forecasts. Our simple self-service solution helps support companies who need to comply with the Gender Pay Gap Information Regulations and wish to understand the issues driving their pay gap.

Contact us to learn more.