Equal Pay Day

Kathryn Nawrockyi

Kathryn Nawrockyi - Acting Director,Opportunity Now

The UK equal pay gap remains significant.  In 2012, the median full-time gender pay gap for hourly earnings was 9.6% in the UK.  An average woman working full-time from age 18 to 59 will lose £361,000 in gross earnings over her working life compared to her male counterpart.  An estimated 28,000 equal pay claims per year are accepted at tribunals in the UK, and research from the CIPD reveals that fair remuneration is the biggest factor employees consider when deliberating moving to a new job - even above job satisfaction. 

An Equal Pay Day was called to take place on a Tuesday, to represent the extra time that women have to work into a new work week to match a man’s weekly pay from the previous week. 

In the UK, the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1970, yet still women are paid less than men.  Opportunity Now recently launched its new campaign aims, one of which is “Unbiased recognition and reward for all”.  Tackling the gender pay gap is a key component of this campaign aim, but a focus on pay alone isn’t enough.  We are seeking to ensure that talent management processes are fair and that employers review the equity of their reward package through the gender lens.  

We do not have a serious hope of achieving balance in leadership positions, until all progression and reward decisions are truly fair and unbiased. We know from our 2012 Benchmarking Trends Analysis Report that there is a direct correlation between conducting regular equal pay audits and a greater number of women in senior management positions, with an average representation of 25.6% when carrying out pay audits, compared to an average of 19.5% in organisations that do not conduct pay audits.

We urge employers to take action to tackle occupational segregation and unequal pay by understanding their workforce metrics and conducting regular equal pay audits. Armed with this data, they can identify where inequalities in their pay and reward processes exist and take action to redress them. It is only when employers are confident that their pay and reward processes are free from bias, that they can truly work towards creating inclusive cultures in which all talent is encouraged, recognised and rewarded fairly.