1 in 3 employers say organisation not tried to reduce Gender Pay Gap

Today’s gender pay gap figures show little to no improvement a year on from the Government introducing mandatory reporting for organisations with 250 or more employees, which could be explained by employers’ inaction.

Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, commissioned a YouGov survey to help explain the lack of progress and found that 30 per cent of HR decision-makers admitted that their organisation had not taken measures to reduce its gender pay gap over the past year, despite the introduction of pay gap reporting. 10 per cent said their organisation does not know how to and does not take the issue seriously enough.

This comes after young women expressed little faith in employers’ will to tackle the issue in a separate survey for Young Women’s Trust. One in seven young women surveyed by Populus Data Solutions for the charity at the end of last year said they were disappointed by their employer’s efforts to close the gap and more than half that they did not feel confident challenging their employer on the issue.

Young Women’s Trust is calling on employers to put in place plans to close their pay gaps and ensure that the new pay reporting leads to more equal workplaces.

The charity is asking employers to say what they pay in job adverts to aid transparency – a proposal that 55 per cent of senior HR professionals think would help to bring about gender equality in the workplace. It also says employers should avoid asking candidates their current salary, which nearly half (47 per cent) of bosses say they still do, and which disadvantages those who are already paid less than they are worth. The charity’s research shows that positive action measures, including targets to help more young women into male-dominated apprenticeships in industries such as construction and engineering, would also contribute to more equal workplaces.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

“It’s no surprise that gender pay gaps are as wide as last year when so many employers admit they haven’t done anything to address the issue.

“Employers need to step up. All organisations should be transparent and say what they pay in job adverts. They should also ban the ‘current salary’ question in interviews, which only serves to ensure that those who are underpaid – usually women – continue to be paid less than they are worth. Action to help women into male-dominated sectors like engineering and to enable men take on caring responsibilities would also make a big difference.

“If employers continue to ignore this problem, today’s young women will get paid less than men from the start of their career right through to retirement and businesses will miss out on talent.”

Through its #saywhatyoupay campaign, Young Women’s Trust is calling on employers to advertise jobs with salary details and asking Government to take greater action on salary transparency.

Notes to editors

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 18-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don’t go to waste.
  2. Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey of HR decision-makers. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 802 senior HR professionals/ people managers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th – 23rd February 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the UK business population by size and sector. The findings show that:
  1. 8 per cent agree that “women in my organisation are paid less than men for jobs at the same level”;
  2. 30 per cent disagree that “my organisation has taken proactive measures to reduce its gender pay gap over the last year”, compared to 36 per cent who agree; remainder are don’t know;
  3. 10 per cent say “my organisation does not understand how to reduce its gender pay gap”;
  4. 10 per cent say “my organisation does not take gender pay gap reporting seriously enough”, rising to 13 per cent among women;
  5. 39 per cent say that they often advertise jobs without salary details;
  6. 47 per cent say their organisation asks candidates about their current salary in job interviews; and
  7. 55 per cent say that publishing salary bands for all roles to increase transparency would aid gender equality.
  8. One in five young women (19 per cent, or more than a million) say they are paid less than their male colleagues for the same or similar work, rising to one in four (25 per cent) for those aged 25-30;
  9. 15 per cent of young women are disappointed by their employer’s efforts to tackle the gender pay gap; and
  10. More than half of young women (53 per cent) say they don’t have the confidence to challenge their boss on the issue.
  11. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to carry out a survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year olds and 1,115 54-72 year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018. The survey found that: