Despite the deadline closing in, more than 6,000 companies have yet to disclose information about the gender differences in pay for employees. So far only 2,675 companies have published their data.
At the moment, all businesses with at least 250 employees are required to supply the government with data of gender differences in pay.
The government has warned that those companies who do not comply and supply the data could face legal action. Companies could end up facing an unlimited fine if they refuse to publish the figures.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) say it will be “fully enforcing” the pay gap legislation. They said they will write to companies who do not report by the deadline.
Fawcett Society, an equality campaign group said that it should be easier for the EHRC to enforce its powers.
Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society’s chief executive said: “Government must make the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s enforcement powers stronger by changing the law.”
She added that EHRC should have powers similar to HMRC such as the ability to fine firms for minimum wage transgressions more quickly.
However, the Confederation of British Industry say that for some firms it may be difficult to compile the data and that smaller firms may need more support.
What does the data tell us?
So far the data has told us that most firms pay men more than women. More than three quarters of those who have published their data have revealed a clear gender pay gap. On the other side of the debate, around 14% pay women more than men and only 8% appear to have no pay gap.
The biggest pay gap so far is for GP organisation Modality Partnership, where the gap is 116%. The biggest pay gap that favours women is at 82.5% at Crest Plus Operations, a financial solutions firm for contractors.
In terms of industry sectors, the biggest gaps in pay were found in aviation and financial services. According to the Office of National Statistics, the biggest average pay gap is within finance and insurance sector where it’s at 35.6%.
Thomson Airways, Easyjet and Jet2.com have gaps between 45% and 50%. Their explanation is that there are more male pilots than female.
Solving the problem
Brenda Trenowden, global chair of the 30% Club, an organisation which aims to increase the number of women on boards, said that there was no “quick fix” to tackle this problem.
She said: “Rather than just talking about the shocking extent of the gender pay gap, we need to focus on what companies need to do to overcome the structural imbalance behind it.
“There are a combination of factors – including better management of women, appropriate senior role models, and breaking down the gender bias – which need to be implemented as basic steps towards achieving this.
“There is far too much sensationalism and blame around this topic. We need constructive comment around why the pay gap exists and what can be done about it,” she added.
Neil Carberry, managing director of people and infrastructure at CBI is encouraging businesses to publish an action plan alongside their figures to “make sure the transparency means something.”
Have you reported your gender pay gap? Do you have an action plan to tackle any imbalances? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Want to learn more?
Subscribe to our newsletter to get accounting tips like this right to your inbox
About The Author
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.