Gender pay gap – a wasted first year means no change in this year’s figures says XpertHR

Britain’s gender pay gap has remained almost unchanged in the first year after employers were forced to reveal differences in pay between men and women, with many organisations having wasted 12 months in which they could have been closing the gap.

XpertHR’s analysis of data from the 10,444 employers that had published their gender pay gap data by the final deadline of midnight on Thursday 4 April found that while the mean gap fell from 13.3% last year to 13.1%, the median rose from 9.2% to 9.6%.

This is the second year that organisations with 250 or more employees have been legally required to publish gender pay gap data. However, because of the way in which the Regulations are written, they have a full 12 months from the “snapshot” date to the publication deadline.

Many employers left their calculations and reporting until the very last minute in 2018, meaning that by the time they were aware of their pay gap, the snapshot date for this year’s reports had already arrived. This means that the impact of any changes put in place over the past 12 months will not take effect until employers publish their next reports in 2020.

Commenting on the data, XpertHR content director Mark Crail said:

“This is the second year that employers have had a legal duty to reveal their gender pay gaps and many people will be disappointed to see that there has been virtually no change over the past 12 months.

“In part this is because there is an underlying structural problem about the number of men and women in different occupational silos and their relative experience and seniority; it is not just a matter of men and women being rewarded differently for doing the same jobs.

“But more could have been done by now. Too many employers took advantage of the fact that they had a full year to publish their first report in 2018, and were surprised by the scale of the problem, that this revealed. Many were genuinely shocked to discover they had a gender pay gap at all. As a result, the ‘snapshot date’ of 5 April 2018 for this year’s reports was already upon them by the time they started to think about what to do.

“Employers will hope to get through this round of reports by explaining that 12 months is too short of time to sort out such a deep-rooted problem. There will be less sympathy for that excuse if there is still no progress to show this time next year.”

XpertHR has worked with hundreds of organisations over the past two years through its gender pay gap reporting service, helping employers to understand the reporting requirements and compile the data they have to report. We then calculate the metrics on their behalf and provide tools that help them to understand where there is a pay gap problem in their organisation and how they can start to address it.

Our analysis of the 10,444 reports published on the government GPG portal by the deadline of midnight on 4 April 2019. Headline figures show that, across all organisations:

  • The mean gender pay gap was 13.1% (13.3% last year)
  • The median gender pay gap was 9.6% (9.2%)
  • Bonus payments were made to 19.3% of men and 17.3% of women
  • The mean gender bonus gap was 35.4% (35.8% last year)
  • The median gender bonus bap was 19.6% (19.5%0

Employers are also required to report the make-up of four pay quartiles – showing the proportion of men and women at different levels of the organisation. This year’s figures show:

Top quartile                         Men 62%         Women 38%

Upper middle quartile    Men 53%         Women 47%

Lower middle quartile    Men 48%         Women 52%

Bottom quartile                Men 44.6%      Women 55.4%

A more detailed analysis by XpertHR shows that the lack of progress in tackling the gender pay gap is repeated across every industry and sector. Finances and construction remain the worst offenders, with a worrying new pattern emerging of a worsening pay gap across many parts of the public sector.

Gender pay and bonus gaps by industry

Mean gender pay gap

Median gender pay gap

Mean gender bonus gap

Median gender bonus gap

ALL EMPLOYERS

13.1% (-0.2)

9.6% (+0.4)

35.4% (-0.4)

19.6% (+0.1)

Agriculture and forestry

13.0% (+0.1)

6.8% (+1.8)

42.3% (-2.4)

5.2% (-8.6)

Central government

9.3% (-0.7)

9.5% (+0.4)

11.4% (-0.6)

0.0% (-1.7)

Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and oil

12.6% (-1.4)

8.8% (-1.8)

27.4% (-5.8)

9.7% (-0.4)

Construction

23.3% (+0.0)

24.2% (-0.6)

47.0% (-3.9)

33.3% (+2.8)

Electricity, gas and water

10.9% (-0.1)

12.3% (+0.3)

30.4% (+4.2)

12.5% (-4.5)

Engineering and metals

14.9% (+0.0)

12.6% (-0.5)

34.0% (+0.5)

8.5% (-3.9)

Facilities, security and support services

3.8% (-0.4)

0.8% (+0.1)

32.7% (+3.7)

15.0% (+5.1)

Finance

28.2% (+0.5)

24.1% (+0.0)

56.0% (+0.0)

42.0% (+3.0)

Food, drink and tobacco

9.8% (-0.8)

6.0% (-0.3)

32.0% (+1.5)

6.5% (-0.9)

General manufacturing

14.4% (+0.1)

10.8% (+1.0)

37.2% (-1.8)

14.4% (+0.1)

Hotels, catering and leisure

7.6% (-0.7)

1.7% (-0.3)

30.9% (+0.9)

15.1% (-2.2)

Information and communication

20.0% (+0.4)

18.0% (+0.1)

41.0% (-1.5)

27.4% (+0.9)

Local government

6.5% (-0.9)

5.1% (-1.0)

9.4% (-2.5)

0.0% (-5.6)

Not for profit

9.0% (-0.7)

6.0% (-0.2)

11.2% (-5.6)

0.0% (+0.0)

Paper and printing

14.3% (+2.0)

11.7% (+0.6)

30.6% (-4.4)

19.8% (+8.8)

Professional and business services

15.4% (-0.5)

11.1% (-0.7)

38.8% (-1.5)

25.8% (+0.8)

Public education

16.0% (+0.1)

20.1% (+1.2)

20.4% (+0.2)

7.7% (-5.8)

Public health

8.9% (-0.1)

2.9% (+0.7)

27.6% (+3.2)

18.8% (+1.8)

Public safety

10.8% (-0.5)

12.8% (+0.5)

13.1% (-2.6)

0.0% (+0.0)

Retail and wholesale

13.7% (+0.1)

6.3% (+0.3)

41.1% (-1.1)

22.7% (-0.4)

Transport and storage

8.7% (+0.4)

6.7% (-0.3)

23.8% (+1.1)

9.1% (+3.8)

Source: XpertHR.

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