Over half of large companies have already calculated their pay gap but have chosen not to publicise it yet, according to data from XpertHR.
Organisations with 250 or more employees have to publish their gender pay and bonus gaps by April 2018 in order to comply with regulations that came into effect this year.
XpertHR's survey of 128 companies in the private sector found that more than one in four (26.5%) mid-sized companies (those with 250-999 employees), and over half (51.5%) of larger companies (with 1,000-plus employees), have already calculated their pay gaps but without yet making them public.
Only 6% of the estimated 4,000 employers covered by the new law have made their data public so far.
XpertHR content director Mark Crail said that firms with larger pay gaps may be more likely to keep the data private until the last moment. “Six months in, not only have tiny numbers of employers reported their gender pay gaps so far, but those that have done so have had pay gaps that were narrower than the national average,” he said. "It now appears that many organisations, especially those with substantial pay gaps, are holding back from publishing their reports rather than wanting to draw attention to themselves by going early.
“Having looked at the reports that have been published so far, it is obvious that some, despite the best efforts of those concerned, do not entirely comply with the legislation. Rather than leaving it until the last minute, employers should now be ensuring that their data is accurate, the calculations are in line with the legislation and that all the reporting requirements can be met."
For those that have already performed their calculations, the results rarely came as a surprise, according to the survey. Seven in 10 (69.8%) said their pay gap was in line with expectations.
However 28.1% of mid-sized companies and 20.6% of larger companies had not yet carried out any calculations at all.
Crail added that XpertHR’s data suggests that there will be a late surge towards next April as the deadline approaches. “HR departments should use the next few months wisely to really understand their own organisation’s gender pay gap and to develop a clear message to employees and the outside world about why it exists and what they are going to do about it,” he said.