Transparent action plans vital for UK employers to cut gender pay gap, warns report Transparent action plans vital for UK employers to cut gender pay gap, warns report

Transparent action plans vital for UK employers to cut gender pay gap, warns report
04 Jan 2019

UK employers must commit to transparent action plans if they are to have any hope of narrowing their gender pay gaps, according to a new report.

Research published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that only one in five employers had published a plan outlining how they intended to ensure wage equity. Of the 440 reports assessed as part of the ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap’ study, only 11% included targets that would enable them to measure progress year on year.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC’s chief executive told People Management: “Earlier this year, gender pay gap reporting shone a light on some of the issues women face. As we head towards the second year of reporting, the attention now needs to shift towards employers who must play their part in reducing the gap, starting with publicly setting out how they intend to address it in their organisation.”

The research revealed that in many cases, employers’ action plans made general reference to activities such as “reviewing flexible working policies” without committing to a timeframe.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of charity the Fawcett Society said: “We have consistently argued that publishing an action plan should be a statutory requirement. Even fewer have set targets. This is worrying, and indicates that gender pay gap reporting in itself will fail to have the desired effect unless other steps are taken.”

The report pointed to a number of elements that are integral to an effective action plan, such as anonymising CVs and application forms, adopting transparent recruitment and promotion procedures and advertising all jobs as open to flexible working from day one.

It concluded: “Publication of data is only the first step. The published figures are useful in providing a high-level snapshot of pay within an organisation, but if the gender pay gap is to be closed, the underlying causes need to be identified and effectively tackled.”

The study comes as a former manager at TalkTalk is about to have her tribunal claim heard that she was paid 40% less than male colleagues for doing the same job.

Rebecca Burke was paid a basic salary of £110,000 (US$126,645) as part of the firm’s cyber security team, according to Personnel Today. She attests three other programme directors earned salaries that were on average 40% higher than hers, while they also received at least 50% more in bonuses.

Moreover, Burke claims that, although she was made redundant in May 2017, her three male colleagues kept their jobs.

A TalkTalk spokesperson said: “We strongly refute these claims and we do not tolerate gender discrimination of any sort, including with regards to pay. This is an ongoing case so we cannot comment any further. However we’re committed to treating all our employees fairly and we are confident there is no disparity in pay between men and women.”

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER STORIES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

UK Government refuses to expand gender pay reporting

Gender pay gap exists at 78% of UK organisations

UK gender pay gap shrinks while US remains static

 

UK employers must commit to transparent action plans if they are to have any hope of narrowing their gender pay gaps, according to a new report.

Research published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that only one in five employers had published a plan outlining how they intended to ensure wage equity. Of the 440 reports assessed as part of the ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap’ study, only 11% included targets that would enable them to measure progress year on year.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC’s chief executive told People Management: “Earlier this year, gender pay gap reporting shone a light on some of the issues women face. As we head towards the second year of reporting, the attention now needs to shift towards employers who must play their part in reducing the gap, starting with publicly setting out how they intend to address it in their organisation.”

The research revealed that in many cases, employers’ action plans made general reference to activities such as “reviewing flexible working policies” without committing to a timeframe.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of charity the Fawcett Society said: “We have consistently argued that publishing an action plan should be a statutory requirement. Even fewer have set targets. This is worrying, and indicates that gender pay gap reporting in itself will fail to have the desired effect unless other steps are taken.”

The report pointed to a number of elements that are integral to an effective action plan, such as anonymising CVs and application forms, adopting transparent recruitment and promotion procedures and advertising all jobs as open to flexible working from day one.

It concluded: “Publication of data is only the first step. The published figures are useful in providing a high-level snapshot of pay within an organisation, but if the gender pay gap is to be closed, the underlying causes need to be identified and effectively tackled.”

The study comes as a former manager at TalkTalk is about to have her tribunal claim heard that she was paid 40% less than male colleagues for doing the same job.

Rebecca Burke was paid a basic salary of £110,000 (US$126,645) as part of the firm’s cyber security team, according to Personnel Today. She attests three other programme directors earned salaries that were on average 40% higher than hers, while they also received at least 50% more in bonuses.

Moreover, Burke claims that, although she was made redundant in May 2017, her three male colleagues kept their jobs.

A TalkTalk spokesperson said: “We strongly refute these claims and we do not tolerate gender discrimination of any sort, including with regards to pay. This is an ongoing case so we cannot comment any further. However we’re committed to treating all our employees fairly and we are confident there is no disparity in pay between men and women.”

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER STORIES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

UK Government refuses to expand gender pay reporting

Gender pay gap exists at 78% of UK organisations

UK gender pay gap shrinks while US remains static

 

Leave a Reply

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing