Companies should not lose sight of equality as gender pay gap reporting suspended

As the publishing of gender pay gap reporting has been suspended this year due to COVID-19, people have warned businesses should “not lose sight of the importance of gender equality”.

In a joint statement Liz Truss, minister for women & equalities, and David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said:

We recognise that employers across the country are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure at this time.

Because of this we feel it is only right to suspend enforcement of gender pay gap reporting this year.

Still, people are calling on businesses to uphold gender equality despite this suspension.

Rebecca Hourston, managing director at Talking Talent said:

Whilst the news today that employers will not have to report on their gender pay gaps this year due to Covid-19 is understandable – given the pressure businesses currently face amid the pandemic – it is crucial for businesses to not lose sight of the importance of gender equality.  After all, driving inclusion and diversity makes a tangible difference to the progressiveness of an organisation’s culture and employee engagement – and it’s great for the bottom line. Companies in the top quartile for executive team gender diversity are reportedly 21 per cent more likely to experience above-average profitability than others, whilst companies with more diverse management teams have 19 per cent higher revenue. Forward-thinking companies must nurture, engage, enhance and invest in a diverse workforce. Ultimately, it will be these organisations that will be built for long-term, sustained success, particularly in times of such unforeseen turbulence and uncertainty.

Originally, public sector businesses were to publish their gender pay gaps on the 30/03/20 and private businesses on the 04/04/20.

However, Charles Cotton, senior reward and performance adviser at the CIPD stated that if companies have already prepared the work to publish their results, then they should go ahead and still do it.

Mr Cotton said:

Most organisations should already have the gender pay data to hand, so if they are in a position to submit their figures then we would strongly encourage their HR teams to do so, especially if they have a narrative and action plan ready to publish as well.

This will help demonstrate that notwithstanding the current crisis, their employers are looking towards the future and playing their part in creating a fairer workplace.