From April 2018, businesses with 250 employees or more are now required to publish a report documenting their employee pay by gender. This law was developed to make businesses more transparent about pay and to reveal any existing gender pay gaps.
The new law has raised questions about structural inequalities in the workforce and may hold the answer to closing the evident gap.
More than 9,600 firms nationwide had 12 months to gather statistics about the proportion of male to female employees and their pay. They were then required to publish their reports on their company website and a designated government website.
There are three businesses in Oundle that are big enough to be required to file a report.
Companies are required to make six basic calculations that include the mean gender pay gap; median gender pay gap; mean bonus gender pay gap; median bonus gender pay gap; proportion of males and females receiving a bonus payment; proportion of males and females in each quartile band.
The mean gender pay gap is the total wage bill divided by the number of staff. The median gap is the difference between the hourly wage of the man in the middle of the male range and the hourly wage of the woman in the middle of the female range.
The median is seen as more representative than the mean, reflecting the difference between men’s and women’s average hourly pay. In 2017 the male and female median hourly earnings gap was 18.4% and the mean pay gap was 17.4%.
The statistics reveal that not only is there a gender pay gap, there is a gender occupation divide. Jobs in the lower quartile are primarily occupied by women, and are also rewarded with lower pay than other positions in the lower quartile which are primarily occupied by men.
Fairline Yachts employs a wide range of production workers and engineers. Their report says: “Our success depends on securing the best talent. Gender balance in the workplace is an essential element enabling us to build the best team possible”. Yet, only 17% of Fairline’s workforce is female. In the highest quartile, 7% of Fairline’s employees are women and in the lowest quartile, 8% are women. In the upper middle pay quartile, which might comprise skilled engineers, only 2% are women. None received bonus pay, compared to 2% of men, who did.
The Corporation of Oundle School, which also includes Laxton Junior School, employs approximately 750 staff with a split of 38.5% male and 61.5% female. The School’s median pay gap is 30% and its mean gender pay gap is 21%.
The School wrote in its report: “The gender pay gap is also attributable to the range and volume of roles offered to staff at the lower grades of pay.” There are more female applicants for jobs represented in the lowest quartile of pay which included cleaners and catering assistants. In the lowest quartile, there are 273 female employees compared to 24 male employees.
Among the cleaning staff, there are 91 females and 6 males who are paid £8.33 per hour. In comparison, among the grounds staff there are 18 males and 1 female who are paid £8.89 per hour.
The EMLC Academy Trust report includes statistics for Prince William School as well as its other schools. The data available on the gov.uk website reports that women’s median hourly rate is 56.4% lower than men’s, even though the majority of the employees across all quartiles are female: 73.7% in the top quartile, 80.9% in the upper middle quartile, 87.2% in the lower middle quartile and 92.6% in the lower quartile. Furthermore, while the number of women and men who received bonus pay is nearly evenly split at 15% and 14.1%, women’s median bonus pay is 68.4% lower than men’s. The full EMLC Academy report is not available on their website.
The Office for National Statistics reports that male financial managers and directors receive 32.4% more than women in the same occupation.
Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society said: “It’s a game change. It forces employers to look at themselves and understand their organisations.
“Finally women realise that they have a right to talk about pay and cannot be silenced. By finding out what their colleagues earn, they can challenge any pay inequality. It is much more common than people realise.”