Explaining the gender pay gap…

The “gender pay gap” is an equality measure that shows the difference in average earnings between men and women – so it looks at the average men are paid in comparison to women. Unlike “equal pay”, the gender pay gap does not look at specific roles in an organisation and compare pay. 

In 2018, it was estimated that male doctors make on average £10,000 more than their female counterparts. Let’s explain this in terms of the gender pay gap… The NHS pay male staff on average £10,000 more than female staff – this does not indicate that they would pay £10,000 more in the same role but indicates that there are more men in higher paid roles. This could be due to promotion of men over women, but it could also be that some of the more highly paid roles attract more men on average than women due to the field. 

In the past, the roles of nurses and health care assistants have been primarily dominated by women, whereas the roles of doctors and surgeons have been more male dominated. Nurses are paid less than doctors, therefore resulting in a gender pay gap. It doesn’t necessarily indicate that the NHS are not paying men and women equally.

So how could the NHS address their gender pay gap? One way would be to encourage more women to become doctors and surgeons and more men to become nurses and health care assistants and ensure that there are paths open to them within the field. This equalisation cannot take place overnight, but ensuring these paths are open equally to men and women for all roles is key to closing the gender pay gap.

Closing the pay gap for good.

So, what can you do to tackle the gender pay gap?

1. challenge stereotypical views and assumptions about the role of women and men, at work, in the home and in wider society, including widening career choices and pathways beyond more traditional routes

In 2018, the biggest gender pay gap in Britain was at a chain of nursery schools in Hampshire, where it was reported that male employees were being paid 81% less than their female colleagues on the median average. So, where most British businesses have been found to be paying women a lot less than men, there are examples of the inverse problem. And by widening career choices for males within this nursery environment, the gender pay gap could be eased.

2. ensuring comprehensive data collection, robust monitoring and review arrangements and utilising the resulting information to guide strategy and practice

You must publish and report your organisation’s gender pay gap data, which means you need accurate and up-to-date calculations of the following;

  • mean gender pay gap in hourly pay
  • median gender pay gap in hourly pay
  • 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 pay quartile

3. providing progressive family leave arrangements i.e. maternity/paternity, which recognise and promote the contribution and responsibilities of both women and men

Research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies suggests that the gender pay gap increases dramatically after women take time off to look after their children, and with only a tiny proportion - an alleged 1% of men – in Britain taking paternity leave, this seems probable.

The solution? Emulating the Swedish model of “daddy months” – an allocation of 90 days paid paternity leave that men can either take or leave. By taking this allocation, this could help to alleviate the stigma around stay at home dads and ultimately give females the flexibility to return to work after childbirth, should they wish to.

4. developing flexibility in the workplace, not just in relation to working hours but in terms of the broader approach to job and work design and ensuring this is applied at all levels.

By saying goodbye to the rigidity of working 9 to 5 and replacing it with a flexible working scheme, this can help to keep women further connected to their careers and is another way of addressing the maternity leave disadvantage.

5. seeking guidance on ways to achieve gender pay equality

In order to follow mandatory pay gap reporting, employers must:

  • recognise that it is illegal to pay women less than men (and has been for the past 48 years)
  • publish their gender pay gap data and a written statement on their public-facing website
  • report their data to government online - using the gender pay gap reporting service
  • understand that there are penalties for failing to report on time or reporting inaccurate data

With the help of Croner-i’s Gender Pay Gap Reporting Service, you can learn more about how to measure and prepare your gender pay report and stay on top of the latest legal requirements. Gaining expert advice on the gender pay gap is all part of addressing the issue, and building a modern, progressive workplace culture.

Looking to build a better workplace?

Croner-i offers a comprehensive knowledge and resource platform that enables you to stay ahead of change in your industry with legislation, trends and best practice. We can therefore help with your gender pay gap reporting requirements, salary benchmarking while also offering solutions specifically to suit your needs, so you can remove risk, avoid PR discrepancies, and close your pay gap for good. Call 0800 231 5199 to find out more.

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