HRreview has gathered insights from various industry experts to determine the outcome of the UK’s gender pay gap report.

 

Darren Hockley, Managing Director at Deltanet International: 

“Last year, the gender pay gap reporting deadline was extended until October. However, this year, organisations have had plenty of time to play catch-up. Pulling together gender pay gap data is not just crucial for compliance reasons, but it supports diversity and inclusion within the organisation.

Over the past year, many employees have quit roles through the ‘Great Resignation’ because they want to work for organisations that care about them. Organisations that place importance on diversity and inclusion initiatives, wellbeing and sustainability are the ones to win talent.

“For organisations pulling together their reports ahead of the deadline, the government has published welcomed guidance to support them through the process. Gender pay gap reporting is vital to provide transparency and equality to women.

The pandemic, unfortunately, highlighted further inequalities women faced in the workplace, and with this reporting deadline looming, organisations have a responsibility to step up. Setting up diversity and inclusion initiatives that support recruitment is crucial to ensuring people from all genders and backgrounds have an opportunity to apply for roles – and they are aware of the salary bandwidth during the application process. HR and finance teams working together with hiring managers is what will support organisations tackle any gender pay gaps that are still prevalent in the workplace.”

 

Ann Francke, CEO of Chartered Management Institute: 

“Here we are again – another year of gender pay gap statistics and we’ve still not assigned this anomaly to the history books. On the contrary – for private businesses CMI research shows that this year the average pay gap has increased.

“Progress towards gender equality is at best slow and feels almost glacial.“This is deeply disappointing given companies have had over two years to get themselves in check when mandatory reporting was relaxed.

“This is more than just about compliance with legal requirements. It’s about ensuring all of our workers are treated fairly and in a position to make the maximum contribution to economic and organisational success possible. The increasing gap suggests we are leaving many women short and so we all lose out.

“The recent threat from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission that it is potentially formalising penalties for those who miss the deadline for a second year in a row is welcome. At the same time it’s unfortunate that such measures may have to be taken.

“There are still far too many women in lower-paid junior roles and far too few women reaching the top. As a result, women will be hit hardest by the sharp rise in inflation and face the greatest increase in their cost of living.“

 

Rebecca Hourston, Managing Director and Head of Women’s Leadership Programmes at Talking Talent:

“The latest gender pay gap figures send out the message that businesses are disregarding the importance of achieving gender equality, and clearly demonstrate that not enough is being done to close the gap and bring true equality to the workplace.

As a society, we need to dial up our efforts. More needs to be done to support working women and close that gap for good.

Women are still the largest pool of underrepresented talent in the corporate world, and women, particularly women of colour, have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Forward-thinking companies must nurture, engage, enhance – and crucially – invest in a diverse workforce. Studies have shown that innovation is six times higher in companies where men and women are treated equally, proving that equality makes a genuine difference when it comes to business performance.

 

The real cost of the gender pay gap

It costs the business dearly when women leave, and firms are at a high risk of losing female staff right now. The cost of a worker leaving ranges from 16 percent of salary for low-paying roles to more than 200 percent for executives. That’s money organisations can’t afford, and if they don’t support women, the risk they will lose multiple female employees (and incur multiple losses) increases.

History shows that at times of crisis, underrepresented talent is too often lost. If they don’t feel supported at work, at least some will leave. They might be your best workers and hard to replace.

In financial terms, even if cutting costs saves a few bucks in the short term, shelving your commitment to gender equality, even temporarily, could reduce your resilience and waste the resources you’ve already invested.

Diversity improves business processes and outcomes. Don’t put that at risk, especially during economic turbulence.

 

Why is there still a gender pay gap in 2022?

There are simply not enough female leaders. Exacerbating this problem is the hypocrisy of businesses, saying one thing – agreeing there is a problem and pledging change – only to then not act. This conversation has been taking place for far too long.

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.”