A YouGov survey for Young Women’s Trust has revealed that 1 in 5 female HR managers (20%) agreed that women in their organisation are paid less than men for jobs at the same level.
The new research also finds that over a third (38%) of female HR bosses disagreed that their organisation had taken proactive measures to reduce its gender pay gap over the last year and almost a quarter of female HR bosses (24%) disagreed that their organisation understands how to reduce its gender pay gap.
Due to the pandemic, the government has suspended mandatory gender pay gap reporting until October 2021. This appears to have significantly impacted employer behaviour. Almost a third of HR managers (32%) disagreed that their organisation reports on its gender pay gap, with 17% of female HR bosses reporting that their organisation does not take gender pay gap reporting seriously enough.
These findings add to earlier research from Young Women’s Trust by Yonder Data solutions in November 2020, which found that in a survey of 2000 young women in England and Wales aged 18 to 30, 21% of young women said they have been paid less than a male colleague in their workplace to do the same or similar work. A quarter of young women said they have been disappointed by their employer’s efforts to tackle the gender pay gap (24%).
A recent report on Young Women’s Missing Data and Voices from Young Women’s Trust analysed existing datasets on young women, showing a lack of official data on the gender pay gap broken down by age and other protected characteristics. The official Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) is one of the only datasets to include a breakdown for young women, and it shows every year that the gender gap in earnings starts at the beginning of young women’s careers. In 2020, women aged 18 to 21 earned 31% less than young men of the same age and 19% less in the 22 to 29 age group.
Joe Levenson, Director of Communications and Campaigns at Young Women’s Trust said:
“For more than 50 years it has been illegal in the UK for women to be paid less than men for equal work, but it is clear that serious pay inequalities remain. That’s why the government must ensure we have updated data on the gender pay gap as a matter of urgency, along with carrying out a full equalities impact assessment of how the pandemic continues to worsen inequalities.
Pay gap reporting should also include other protected characteristics beyond sex, including ethnicity. Employers can also help boost diversity and productivity in their organisations by tackling this issue head on. Assessing their gender pay and publishing plans to understand the causes and make improvements are vital first steps towards a fairer workplace.”
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Covid has amplified the inequality women face at work. Working mums were put in the impossible situation of having to do their jobs and look after children at the same time – and many had to cut their hours and lose out on pay to do so. Younger women are more likely to have been put on furlough. And they’re more likely to be working in industries like hospitality and retail that have borne the brunt of the economic impact of the pandemic, making them more at risk of unemployment. Delaying gender pay gap reporting for 6 months wasn’t necessary. The pandemic has turned the clock back on women’s pay. Every employer should analyse their pay gap and act now.”
Note to editors
- 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 862 junior managers and above working within HR/operations/management. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11 and 17 February 2021. 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:
- 20% of female HR managers agree women in their organisation are paid less than men for jobs at the same level
- 38% of female bosses disagree that their organisation has taken proactive measures to reduce its gender pay gap over the last year
- 17% of female bosses agreed their organisation does not take gender pay gap reporting seriously enough
- ONS (2020) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 201, Age Group Table 6.7a Annual Pay, Gross 2020 (all employees)