Third have taken no action on gender pay gap

This International Women's Day the Young Women’s Trust is calling for positive action and transparency on salaries

One in three (30%) HR professionals report that their organisation has taken no measures to reduce its gender pay gap over the last year, according to the Young Women’s Trust.

The survey of 802 HR decision-makers found that 10% said their organisation does not know how to tackle their gap and does not take it seriously enough. Around one in 10 (8%) said women in their organisation are paid less than men at the same level, a practice which is illegal under the Equal Pay Act.

The annual deadline for large private and voluntary sector employers to report their gender pay gap is 4 April. For public sector organisations it is 30 March.

However, recent analysis of company filings by The Guardian found that more than 30 employers are yet to correct mathematically-impossible gender pay gap data for the first year of reporting. It found that 35 companies have failed to file accurate data for the 2017 period and some firms that have already filed their 2018 figures have again filed mathematically-impossible figures.

Research conducted at the end of last year for the Young Women’s Trust found that young women have little faith employers will tackle gender pay gaps. One in seven (15%) surveyed by Populus Data Solutions said they were disappointed by their employers’ efforts, while more than half (53%) said they don’t have the confidence to challenge their boss on the issue.

The Young Women’s Trust is calling on employers to state what they pay in job adverts to aid transparency – a proposal that 55% of senior HR professionals think would help bring about gender equality in the workplace, it found.

The organisation also recommends employers avoid asking candidates their current salaries. Nearly half (47%) of HR professionals surveyed said their firm still does this, something that the charity says disadvantages those who are already paid less than they are worth.

Positive action measures, including targets to help more young women into apprenticeships in male-dominated industries such as construction and engineering, would also contribute to more equal workplaces, the charity said. It is also calling on the government to take stronger action on salary transparency.

Carole Easton, chief executive of Young Women’s Trust, said urgent action was needed. “Women face a gender pay gap from the moment they start work and it is not going away. It’s time employers stepped up – for everyone’s benefit. We need urgent action to improve young women’s prospects and give them hope for the future," she said.

“An easy start would be to include salary details in job adverts and ban the ‘current salary’ question in interviews, which only serves to perpetuate low pay rather than valuing women’s work for what it is,” added Easton. “Action to help women into male-dominated sectors and to enable men take on caring responsibilities would also make a big difference. Without this, today’s young women will be retired before equal pay becomes a reality.”

Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to conduct an online survey of 802 senior HR professionals/people managers.