Most UK workers are likely to underestimate the gender pay gap of their employer

Member article

Although most UK workers (96%) agree that the UK has a gender pay gap, up to 57% do not believe there is a gender pay gap in their own workplace, according to a new study.

HR software provider CIPHR surveyed 1,000 UK employees, the majority of whom work in medium to large companies, to find out more about their attitudes towards the gender pay gap . The survey results reveal a significant disconnect between the reality and perception of income of men and women in the same organization – a disconnect that could potentially help perpetuate the gender pay gap.

While many UK workers may have heard of the gender pay gap, few are clear on the details. When asked to identify the current pay gap, opinions vary widely – with an average response of 37% (the median was 33%). A third of people (33%) think it’s over 50%.

Only one in 20 survey respondents (5%) passed 15% or 16%. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the gender pay gap was 15.5% in 2020 (based on median gross hourly earnings for all workers).

Only 4% of people believe the UK gender pay gap is zero.

** Perception vs. Reality ** Some organizations do not have a gender pay gap, but this is often the exception rather than the rule. The government’s 2020-2021 Gender Pay Gap Report shows that most organizations (79.8%) with more than 250 employees in the UK pay their male employees more than their female employees. There are no comparable figures for small organizations.

Looking at data from the 6,144 employers who have released their figures on the gender pay gap so far for the 2020-21 reference year (at 2:15 p.m. on September 28, 2021), four out of five organizations pay men more. Only one in eight women (12.6%) pays more women, and only one in 13 organizations (7.6%) say they have no pay gap. The median hourly pay gap on which these calculations are based is 13%.

The DTC’s findings suggest that people’s perceptions of their own employers are in fact more favorable than reality. Only a third of people (36%) think their employer has a gender pay gap in favor of men, and one in fourteen (7%) thinks the opposite – in favor of women. Most people (59% of women and 52% of men) do not perceive any pay gap in the organization they work for.

On average, two-fifths (40%) of workers under 35 believe their employers pay their male staff more, compared to around a quarter (27%) of workers over 45. About half of those working in the arts, entertainment or recreation (54%), finance and insurance (53%), IT and software (51%), human resources (50%) sectors %) and legal services (46%) say the same.

In particular, it is non-managers (64% of survey respondents) who are among the most likely to say that their employer does not have a pay gap (61%). More than half of people (52%) in leadership roles – such as owners, CEOs, CFOs, senior executives and human resources managers – who may be in the best position to know this information, say that their organization has a gender pay gap (45% in favor of men and 7% in favor of women).

What if they were to put a number on this pay gap – most workers (56%), who believe their employer has a gender pay gap in favor of men, say it’s over 20%. About a fifth of workers (19%) estimate their employer’s gender pay gap at a more conservative rate of 10-14%.

People working in IT and software, transportation and warehousing, and construction report the highest average (average) figures for the gender pay gap – believing that employers in these sectors pay their staff well over a third more male than their female staff (41%, 38% and 38% respectively).

However, when it comes to job hunting, people are much less likely to accept pay differentials – perceived or not. Most women (58%) say they would not apply for a job with an organization with a gender pay gap (compared to 38% of men). Women are also more likely to be opposed to working for an organization that has an ethnic pay gap, compared to men (54% and 37% respectively). For black women this figure is 57%, and for Asian women it is 71% (the average for all female workers is 47% and for female workers from ethnic minorities it is 52%).

** Close the gap ** Be more transparent about decision-making processes for promotions and career advancement, disclose salary ranges (including salaries and bonuses), use HR systems for reporting and identifying potential areas that need to be improved, and introducing minimal gender and diversity quotas at the interview stage, are just a few of the ways organizations can help fill – or at least reduce – their pay gap between men and women.

Only half of those surveyed (51%) believe their employer is transparent about their promotion, compensation and rewards processes and policies.

Of course, it depends on who you ask. Almost two-thirds (62%) of senior executives, such as owners, CEOs, CFOs, senior executives and human resources managers, believe their organization’s processes and policies are crystal clear. But only 47% of non-management staff (who represent 64% of all survey respondents) agree. They are also more likely to say they are unsure (27%) about these processes and policies, compared to just 13% of bosses.

When it comes to pay gap reporting and pay transparency in general, more than two-thirds of respondents believe that gender pay gap reports and pay gap reports ethnicity should be mandatory for all UK businesses regardless of size (69% and 61% respectively).

More than a third of workers (37%), however, say that they are actively discouraged from talking about their wages with their colleagues and coworkers, when they are legally entitled to do so (potentially reducing the opportunities for them. workers to discover or challenge unfair pay), including one in twenty (5%) who say they are excluded from such discussions because of pay secrecy clauses in their contracts.

On the flip side, most employees (56%) say they are (rightly) allowed and encouraged to talk openly about their pay at work, and a quarter of people (26%) think their employer is fully transparent with regard to salary information.

Just because people can share these details doesn’t mean they always do.

More than a third of people (36%) say they do not discuss their salary with their loved one, while only two fifths (40%) of people are happy to tell their friends or relatives what they earn. Even fewer (20%) disclose this information to their children.

A third (33%) say they would tell their colleagues and colleagues what they earn, and only one in six (16%) say they discuss their current salaries with new employers or potential recruiters.

Commenting on the results, Claire Williams, Director of People and Services at CIPHR, said: “It is interesting that so many people trust their employers so that there is no gender pay gap and women, especially when so many do and when this information is publicly available. on the government website: https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk. These findings underscore the importance of reporting and communicating the gender pay gap figures – and what they mean – to employees, but employers should use legislation to disclose the gender pay gap. gender as an opportunity to actually use data to drive change within their organization and not just as a ‘checkbox’ exercise.

“The UK gender pay gap is slowly narrowing thanks to years of inclusive reforms, policies and initiatives. But these changes do not happen on their own. Better representation of women and ethnic minorities at all levels, in all roles, in all organizations, is essential to ensure a faster reduction of the pay gap. It is also the best way to ensure that organizations attract and retain the best employees, and has a significant impact on the overall performance of the company. As detailed in the McKinsey 2020 ‘Diversity Wins’ report, the business case for diversity and inclusion (D&I) is stronger than ever, and the direct link to financial outperformance continues to grow stronger – employers need to take note of these key research areas.

“Although the DTC does not meet mandatory reporting requirements, we have chosen to release our numbers today as part of our commitment to supporting equal opportunity for all of our staff. For the 2020-2021 reference year, the DTC reported a negative median wage gap of -6% (meaning that the median hourly wage for men was 6% lower than for women), a change from 7% in 2019 and 2018 (meaning that the median hourly wage for men was 7% higher than that for women). While this is incredibly promising news in many ways, ultimately we want to bring the gap as close to zero as possible. “

The results of the CIPHR Gender Pay Gap Survey (conducted September 23, 2021) can be viewed at www.ciphr.com/research/gender-pay-gap-survey. 12% of the people questioned work in small companies with 26 to 50 employees, 28% work in medium-sized companies with 51 to 250 employees, 22% work in large companies with 251 to 1,000 employees, 15% work in organizations with 1,001 to 5,000 employees, and 23% work in companies with more than 5,001 employees.

CIPHR is a specialist provider of SaaS HR, learning, payroll and recruiting software through its HCM platform, CIPHR Connect. Over 600 organizations use CIPHR solutions around the world in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, with clients including British Museum, Cambridge Building Society, Cera Care, Claire’s Accessories UK, Devon Doctors, Envision Virgin Racing , Information Commissioners Office, Kido Education, Met Office, Pro: Direct Sport, The Air Ambulance Service, The Royal Society of Medicine, Thorntons Law, Volkswagen Group UK and Willerby.

This was posted in the Member News section of Bdaily by Emma-Louise Jones.

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