· Features

Hot topic: Gender pay gap reporting

As gender pay gap reporting is introduced, we ask: will it lead to problems, and what can firms do to counter them?

From April firms will need to start recording data to report on their gender pay gap in 2018. However, some have argued that this will not show the full picture.

Carole Easton, CEO at Young Women’s Trust, says:

"The new legislation will only be effective if the government puts in place and enforces penalties for firms that fail to report their pay gaps accurately. Where pay gaps do exist, Young Women’s Trust would like to see that companies are obliged to put plans in place to reduce them.

"Pay transparency alone will not change the gender stereotypes that often determine the types of roles men and women take and the industries they work in. We need action to support young women into male-dominated areas if we are to close the gender pay gap. Making apprenticeships work for women, including by providing more part-time and flexible apprenticeships to help them balance work and family life, would be a great start."

Maggie Stilwell, managing partner for talent at EY UK and Ireland, says:

"Pay gap reporting is an opportunity for companies to understand why they have a pay gap, how they can address it, and at the same time help to drive change. But it won’t be without challenges. Pay gap calculations may be particularly sensitive in smaller organisations given that minor amendments can make a bigger impact.

"It is important to remember that the pay gap, while an important metric, is not the only metric that matters when looking at your progress on diversity. The option to provide accompanying narrative to your pay gap figure is the best opportunity a firm has to explain its gap and the actions it is taking to improve its position.

"One of the greatest challenges surrounding the topic is the confusion between pay gap and equal pay. Greater clarity is needed to educate and inform on the difference between the two, which is often misunderstood.

"According to the World Economic Forum it will take 170 years to achieve gender parity; clearly bold moves are needed to accelerate that timeline and in the process create equal opportunities and greater economic prosperity for all."

Check back tomorrow for part two of this Hot Topic