One in three employers have not tried to reduce gender pay gap

Around one in 10 employers (8%) say that women in their organisation are paid less than men at the same level, a practice which is illegal, according to a new YouGov survey for Young Women’s Trust on International Women’s Day.

30 per cent of the 800 HR decision-makers polled for the charity, which supports young women on low or no pay, said 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 did not know how to and does not take it seriously enough.

Young Women’s Trust is calling on employers to put in place plans to close their pay gaps this International Women’s Day. The charity is asking employers to say what they pay in job adverts to aid transparency – a proposal that 55% 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%) of bosses say they still do, and which disadvantages those who are already paid less than they are worth. 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.

This comes after young women expressed little faith in employers’ will to tackle the issue. 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 chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said of the findings:

“Women face a gender pay gap from the moment they start work and it is not going away.

“It’s time employers stepped up – for everyone’s benefit. We need urgent action to improve young women’s prospects and give them hope for the future. An easy start would be to include salary details in job adverts and ban the ‘current salary’ question in interviews, which only serves to perpetuate low pay rather than valuing women’s work for what it is. Action to help women into male-dominated sectors and to enable men take on caring responsibilities would also make a big difference.

“Without this, today’s young women will be retired before equal pay becomes a reality.”

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:

a)       8 per cent agree that “women in my organisation are paid less than men for jobs at the same level”;

b)      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;

c)       10 per cent say “my organisation does not understand how to reduce its gender pay gap”;

d)      10 per cent say “my organisation does not take gender pay gap reporting seriously enough”, rising to 13 per cent among women;

e)      39 per cent say that they often advertise jobs without salary details;

f)        47 per cent say their organisation asks candidates about their current salary in job interviews; and

g)       55 per cent say that publishing salary bands for all roles to increase transparency would aid gender equality.

3. 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:

a)       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;

b)      15 per cent of young women are disappointed by their employer’s efforts to tackle the gender pay gap; and

c)       More than half of young women (53 per cent) say they don’t have the confidence to challenge their boss on the issue.