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UK government addresses the gender pay gap

Ensuring women get promoted to senior positions and receive higher bonuses should form part of the strategy to ensure that the gap between the pay of women and men is closed,  according to a report produced by Deloitte and sponsored by “Think, Act, Report“, a UK government campaign.

Following an extensive consultation last year the UK government is now asking for comments on draft regulations which will mandate companies with over 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap and bonus pay gap details. The government will also require companies to publish how many women and men are in each pay range. To highlight where the gap needs tackling, the government plans to publish the pay gap by sector – in a league table that will allow women to see where the gap is being addressed and where more action must be taken. It is proposed that this reporting must be online on the company website and uploaded to a government-sponsored website. The league table will appear from 2018.

The government is providing £500,000 to help companies implement the regulations, including UK-wide conference events, free online software, targeted support for male dominated-sectors and the publication of a report highlighting those business trailblazing in this area. With the gender pay gap in sectors such as engineering among the worst across business, the government also announced  a plan to encourage 15,000 more entries by girls to maths and sciences by 2020 – around a 20% increase on current numbers. There will also be a  ministerial group spanning the whole of the UK to look at addressing the pay gap and better opportunities for women.

Speaking at Deloitte’s Trailblazing Transparency event recently Women and Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan said, “The Prime Minister couldn’t have been clearer when he said at our Party Conference “You can’t have true opportunity without real equality”. And that’s why one of the first things he announced after the general election was a pledge to eliminate the gender pay gap in a generation.

“This is not only the right thing to do but it’s also important for our country. The UK economy is dependent on us harnessing the talent of women, capitalising on the wealth of skill that they bring to our workplaces.”

The Deloitte report said that over £42 billion was paid out in bonuses in 2014-15, so they constitute a significant form of payment for UK employees. However, according to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) male managers are still more likely to get a bonus than female managers. These findings are especially concerning, the Deloitte report said, as women still only make up around 34% of senior managers. The latest data from the CMI and XpertHR shows that women in management and professional roles earn 22% less on average than men. This would equate to an unpaid 1h40m every day, or 57 working days every year. That’s an average gender pay gap of £8,524, with women earning on average £30,612 and men earning £39,136.

In  a recent speech Carolyn Fairburn,director general of the CBI said that if we are to get more women executives on boards there was a need for more women managers throughout companies. The Deloitte report addresses the challenge of promoting more women and ensuring they are paid at in an equal way to their male counterpart. Writing in the publication, Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO, Newton Investment Management and Chair of Business in the Community (BITC) gender equality campaign said that a survey by the BITC’s found that while 70% said they had a desire to be a leader 70% have a desire to be a leader/lead a team, Women were twice as likely to disagree that opportunities to advance were fair and equal between men and women (43% of women, compared to 28% of men).

The deadline for responses to the government’s consultation on its regulations is the 11th March 2016.


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