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Employers holding back on gender pay gap reporting

Employers look set to leave publication of their gender pay gap reports until the very last minute rather than stand out by publishing data ahead of their competitors, according to research.

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Employers look set to leave publication of their gender pay gap reports until the very last minute rather than stand out by publishing data ahead of their competitors, according to research.


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. However, with only months to go, only 6% of the estimated 4,000 employers covered by the new law have complied.


A survey published by XpertHR of 128 companies in the private sector reveals that despite the low reporting rate to date, more than one in four (26.5%) mid-sized companies (those with 250-999 employees) and more than half (51.5% ) of larger companies (with 1,000-plus employees) have already calculated their pay gaps but without yet making them public.


Anecdotally, some have told researchers that they are waiting to see what other companies in their sector do before publishing – or that they want there to be a large number of reports in the public domain before they release their own figures.


The survey found that 28.1% of mid-sized companies and 20.6% of larger companies had not yet carried out any calculations. Just 3.1% and 1.5% respectively had already reported. Almost all the rest had calculated their pay gaps either informally or formally but had not yet reported.


Among those that had carried out the calculations, the results rarely came as a surprise. Nearly seven out of ten (69.8%) said their pay gap was in line with expectations, with most saying they had calculated the figures before.


Employers reported a similar lack of surprise at the extent of their gender bonus gaps – which are typically far wider than pay gaps.


Asked what they would do as a result of calculating and reporting their gender pay gaps, organisations were most likely to:


  • Conduct further analysis (65.6%);
  • Develop an action plan to close the gap (45.8%);
  • Review recruitment processes (27.1%);
  • Review promotion processes (21.9%); and
  • Review pay levels for men and women (17.7%).


Just one in six (16.7%) said that having calculated and reported their gender pay gap, they were likely to take no further action.


Commenting on the findings, XpertHR content director Mark Crail said: “Our data suggests that there will be a late surge of published data 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.”

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