Many firms have already revealed startling differences between what they pay men and women, while around a fifth have yet to report with one day to go
The true scale of the gender pay gap at the UK’s largest companies will be revealed this week as the deadline for reporting arrives at midnight on Wednesday.
Any firms with over 250 employees who do not comply by midnight tomorrow face stiff penalties. The Equality and Human Rights Commission says it will initially contact employers informally at first if they have not published by the deadline, but businesses could ultimately face “unlimited fines and convictions”.
Many firms have already revealed startling differences between what they pay men and women; far higher than the UK average of 18.4 per cent, which is equivalent to women earning 81.6p for every £1 paid to a man.
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Ryanair reveals 67% gender pay gap
Ryanair revealed a 67 per cent gender pay gap on Tuesday, a figure it said was due to the fact that a large majority of its pilots are men. The number was significantly higher than low-cost rival easyJet’s at 51.7 per cent, and British Airways’ 35 per cent.
The figures were better on a median measure – ie comparing the middle-earning man with the middle-earning woman – but gaps were still large: Barclays’ stood at 43 per cent while HSBC’s was
Big accountancy and consulting firms have pledged to do more to recruit women into top positions after revealing similarly damning figures.
Deloitte pays women 43 per cent less than men, KPMG 42 per cent less, EY 38 per cent less and PwC 44 per cent less. All claimed the figures were skewed by a small number of very high-earning men but the figures also revealed significant gaps for middle-earning staff as well.
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Education has been highlighted as another sector that promotes too few women to senior roles. A large proportion of the companies with the largest gender pay gaps are academy trusts.
Perhaps less surprisingly, football clubs have reported the biggest gaps of all with Chelsea’s standing at 83 per cent and Arsenal’s at 80 per cent.
Around a fifth of companies to which the new reporting requirement applies have left it right down to the wire and still have yet to release their figures.
“Firms have had plenty of warning and have no excuse for failing to submit their gender pay gap data accurately and on time, said Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said.
While firms have much work to do, they can’t close the gap by themselves, Ms Fairbairn said. “Many of the causes of the gender pay gap lie outside the workplace, and will require a partnership between companies and Government if we are to deliver long-term, lasting change.”
Helen Rose, chief operating officer at TSB described the reporting requirement as an “incredibly important” step that had given the issue greater prominence.
“Now, the question we need to be asking is: ‘What next? How are we going to drive real change?’ so that gender pay gap reporting does not become an annual ‘tick in the box’ exercise and importantly, companies don’t just throw resources at tackling gender imbalance because it’s trendy to without really understanding the impact they’re having.
“Instead, the gender pay gap needs to be the catalyst that forces ongoing, active conversations that result in action and change.”
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