The Gender Pay Gap; is it getting any smaller?

Rio 2016 Olympics has created some noise around gender discrimination, with such successful athletes like Laura Trott, Kelly Holmes and Rebecca Adlington, you would think that this gender divide would be lost in our modern day. Taking gender discrimination into the workplace, there has been a real focus on ‘the gender pay gap’, with the definitive issue being that men are getting paid more than women.

The gender pay gap has developed for many reasons; women are concentrated in low paid jobs and unpaid work – particularly when women have more responsibilities to care for children, sick people or older people. Or is it because of pay discrimination? Statistics have found: “there is a 14.8% gap between men and women’s combined hourly rates, and a shocking 33.5% gap when you compare women’s part time hourly rate to men’s full-time hourly rate”. Is this the main reason why women are staying at home to care for children, because they cannot afford to go back to work and pay for child care.

Interestingly, research has been found that in comparison with the rest of the world ‘United Kingdom is among the most gender equal in the world. It ranks 18/145’. This may be due to the fact that more women in the UK are working in positions of power in FTSE 100 companies. The stereotype of the stay at home mum is being lost more and more, as women fight for their career and childcare is more readily available.

As we move into a more modern era, the UK has already stamped down on gender discrimination by implementing the Equality Act 2010. This requires employers to publish information relating to the pay of their employees, and to identify any differences between genders. Currently this Gender Pay Gap legislation does not apply to organisations with less than 250 employees, which means smaller companies could be slipping under the radar.

However, in recent publications it seems we are going to see changes to the Equality Act 2010. Organisations with less than 250 employees will have to publish their employees gender and salaries along with their job title. By closing the pay gap this will open the talent pipeline, increase management quality and boost productivity. As the legislation changes over the next few months, it will be interesting to see if there are any changes and whether businesses will become more equal places to work.


Jen Gaster

Founder and Director of HR Heads. Passionate about the innovative and successful recruitment of HR talent and creating strong, lasting networks built on trusted relationships. Industry specialist for the Hampshire region

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