Nowhere to hide now on women’s pay

Recent revelations have made the gender pay gap higher profile than ever, writes Chris Harland. And it’s an issue that many medium-sized and larger companies will now have to address for the first time.

In July 2017, the BBC published a list of its highest earners – people earning over £150,000 a year. As well as provoking some sharp intakes of breath over the size of the pay packets of various veterans from the worlds of showbiz and news, the data showed something else that people had long suspected – men were earning a lot more than women for the same work. The top man on the list, for example, was earning more than four times the amount of the leading woman.

Of course, the discrepancies in your own organisation may not be as severe as this and you won’t be under the same level of public scrutiny as the BBC.

By 5th April 2018 organisations will have had to report on the gender pay gap if they employ more than 250 people.  The figures must be calculated using a specific reference date – this is called the ‘snapshot date’.  The snapshot date each year is:

  • 31st March for public sector organisations
  • 5th April for businesses and charities

Organisations must publish the report within a year of the snapshot date on their website, and to a government site.

For example, public sector organisations with a snapshot date of 31st March 2017 will have to publish their report by 30th March 2018 and every year thereafter.  Businesses and charities with a snapshot date of 5th April 2017 will have to publish their report by 4th April 2018.

A few dozen companies, ranging across different sectors – including manufacturing, construction, consultancy, education and finance, have already met their 2018 deadline by posting their 2017 figures.

Collecting and analysing the data will probably be a joint exercise between you and your payroll firm. Essentially, the calculations required are as follows, in percentage form:

  1. Average gender pay gap in hourly pay as a mean average
  2. Average gender pay gap in hourly pay as a median average
  3. Average bonus gender pay gap as a mean average
  4. Average bonus gender pay gap as a median average
  5. Portion of males and females receiving a bonus payment
  6. Portion of males and females when divided into four groups (quartile) and ordered from lowest to highest pay.

While it may not be quite the same exercise that the BBC went through, in that no individuals are named and no specific salaries are quoted, it’s certainly a big step along the road towards greater transparency and equality.