Regulations requiring certain employers to report on their gender pay gap (GPG) came into force in 2017.
The regulations affect around 10,000 employers across the UK and the Government Equalities Office has carried out a survey and published a report following the first year of reporting.
The Government Equalities Office carried out a survey comprising of 900 large employers and the results showed that 82% of respondents believed they had a good understanding of what the GPG is and how it is calculated.
Knowledge of the GPG has improved significantly since 2017, almost doubling with just 2% reporting having a limited understanding. However, attitudes to reducing the GPG varied widely with 23% allocating it a high priority, 45% a medium priority and 29% a low (or non) priority.
The report also notes disparity on opinions regarding the overall difficulty of complying with the reporting requirements. The survey found that 33% felt that they would benefit from additional guidance and 30% found it difficult to comply; compared to 35% reporting that they found it straightforward.
The requisite GPG reports for this year must be published by 4 April for private sector employers and by 30 March for public sector employers.
Although provision of an accompanying narrative is not a legal requirement, we consider an explanation of the reason for and factors contributing to any pay gap to be useful in managing employee relations and understanding the data. Narratives may include information on reward/pay strategy, comparisons with previously published benchmarks, an update on what steps have been taken to reduce pay gaps and an action plan, outlining future plans to reduce any pay gaps as a result of the analysis.
The research found that the proportion of employers developing a gender pay gap strategy is increasing. Measures that can be used to tackle the GPG could include promoting flexible working and shared childcare, cultural changes and gender-specific recruitment strategies.