A gender pay difference at a company is not illegal but could possibly reflect discrimination. This is not the same as pay inequality which compares the wages of men and women doing the same job.
Although the gender gap has been narrowing over the last few years, according to the latest government figures the average gender pay gap across all medium and large-sized firms is 8.2%, i.e. men typically earn over 8% more per hour than women. The data shows that 74% of firms pay higher rates to their male staff and only 15% of businesses with more than 250 employees pay more to women. 11% of firms said there is no difference between the rates paid to either gender.
Among those with the largest gender pay gap are airlines but this is down to the fact that most pilots are male, and the majority of cabin crew are female. Many banks also appear to have a gender bias on salaries, with the Bank of England’s wage rate for men being 24% higher than for its female employees.
All firms with more than 250 staff must, by law, report their gender pay gap to the government by 4th April this year. The vast majority of firms have not yet complied, but this may be because the data is genuinely quite difficult to find. Also, the data may prove to be embarrassing for some the firms involved, who will be worried about reputational damage.
The main task here is to promote change and help women progress at work. It’s about fairness and productivity in our economy.
There are a small number of organisations who pay their female staff more than their male colleagues, including Europcar, Biffa and Ocado.
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