This time next year, over 7,960 HR managers and senior executives in the UK will be looking at the April pay data like they’ve never done before. They will be looking through a gender equality lens, grasping the gender pay gap percentage and analysing how it impacts their company.
The government will subsequently use this data to build league tables in an exercise meant to show companies and their employees how they compare to their peers (also described by media as “name and shame” tables, but let’s not go there).
Given the guidelines and regulations – which have only been available in draft form so far, this will be no easy task.
When planning for gender pay gap analysis with the following issues in mind, the task can be significantly simplified and managed successfully.
- Plan adequate resources
Companies that have responded to the government consultation last year have indicated that they feel it would take an average of 68 hours to analyse and publish a gender pay gap. Given the average pay of an HR manager, this could range anywhere from 1,300 to 2,500.
This time estimate does not however take into account time spent looking at additional data that is currently not required by regulations (pay gap by department, or part time/full time pay gap, or pay gap by occupation and seniority levels, and overall pay gap decomposition). While not required, additional figures can help companies understand why the pay gap is there and build data driven plans to narrow the gap.
The more advanced analysis and response could make the cost tenfold, bringing it easily into the tens of thousands.
- It’s not necessarily about equal pay issues
Some of the confusion in dealing with new reporting requirements is that often people confuse the gender pay gap with equal pay.
A company can have a spotless record when it comes to equal pay, and still have a massive pay gap that stems from lack of women in higher paid roles and specific occupations, or what is known as the “motherhood penalty”. Equally, companies with a low gender pay gap could still have equal pay issues.
Ultimately what is important to remember is that the two are not necessarily inter-connected.
- Make sure it’s for the right reason
As regulations currently stand, there is no significant reason to comply – there are no imposed financial penalties. The only thing at stake is a company’s reputation, especially if you choose to not disclose the pay gap. In an increasingly competitive environment, this can damage sales as well as limit the pool of talent you can tap into when recruiting.
A Young Women’s Trust survey found that 84% of the surveyed women (aged 16-30) would consider an employer’s gender pay gap when applying for a job and 80% would compare employers’ gender pay data when looking for work.
Careful and pro-active planning can help prepare for all of these challenges and get a thorough analysis of the gender pay gap. It’s also never too early to start thinking about the numbers. I’d recommend you try the free tool on Gapquare.com to get a dry run on your data for April 2016. The results can already help you plan for this time next year.