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Closing the gender pay gap

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    Gender Pay survey report signifies major culture change for UK PLCs

    In April last year, new legislation requiring larger employers to publish information about their gender pay and bonus gaps came into effect.

    Since the introduction of this legislation, Eversheds Sutherland has published a report: ‘Seeing the bigger picture’. The paper explores what impact employers believe this legislation will have on the gender pay gap, and whether it will make a difference.

    Report findings…

    More than 80 Senior HR and Chief People Officers across various industry sectors were asked:

    • what they felt were the main causes of their gender pay gaps

    • how they plan to tackle them

    • what challenges they are likely to face

    • what they feel the risks are if they do not take action

    Of those surveyed, 76% agreed that gender pay gap reporting will help address the pay gap issue, with 70% believing the UK Gender pay gap will be significantly reduced by 2028.

    However, only 24% said that they have or will set a gender pay gap target. Respondents noted that the reluctance by other organisations to do so is likely due to an acknowledgment that factors beyond the control of the workplace (such as societal norms around childcare and career choices) will contribute to its success or failure.

    Next steps…

    When looking ahead to how the current landscape can be improved, the following themes seemed typical:

    • attracting more female applicants for recruitment and promotion, particularly into senior roles

    • changing educational/occupational gender stereotypes and supporting bias-free selection and promotion processes

    • promoting more equal parenting between genders and uptake of flexible working

    • provision of more affordable/accessible childcare

    It was also evident throughout the survey that actively breaking down gender stereotypes, such as parenting bias, and more effective promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects earlier on in education would each have a positive effect on helping to close the gender pay gap.

    Diane Gilhooley, Global Head of Human Resources and Pensions, Eversheds Sutherland commented:

    “What is increasingly evident, is that there is a marked shift in the public interest and emphasis being placed on equality, behaviours, inclusivity and diversity in all areas of business. We are seeing this shift, not just as a result of legislation, but because of the increasing awareness and commentary on the issues in the press, by individuals, by corporate investors etc. The #genderpaygap has had the effect of highlighting far broader issues of diversity.

    “Our report sparks some thought-provoking debate but perhaps more importantly it confirms that many businesses are taking this culture change very seriously and are looking at the breadth of reasons a gender pay gap may exist. I’m delighted to see such a positive response to what could well be a period of great challenge and change.”

    Shirley Hall, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland commented:

    "The ‘Seeing the bigger picture’ report follows on from our recent event, ‘The Gender Pay Gap: Moving Forward 2018’, which saw more than 170* professionals from across the industry sharing their first assessment of the impact of gender pay reporting and looking at ways of working together to bridge the gap.

    “The combined feedback from the event and the report suggests there is much work to be done, but it also demonstrates there is a real passion and drive to close the gender pay gap, which is hugely encouraging.”

    A full boxset of content and materials from the event, including seminars and videos, can be found on the Eversheds Sutherland website.


    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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