Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that progress towards closing the gender pay gap has stagnated for the past seven years, and between 2018 and 2019 the gap has widened for full-time workers. This has left women earning on average 8.9% less than their male colleagues- an improvement of just 0.6% from 2002. This slow progress, according to ADP’s 2019 Workforce View report, has left UK employees impatient, as over two-thirds state that they would consider looking for another job if there was an unfair gender pay gap at their company.
The Workforce View report, which surveyed over 10,000 employees throughout Europe, explores how employees feel about current issues in the workplace, as well as the future of work. Through the study, the gap in earnings between male and female employees has shown to be increasingly wearing thin- especially for female workers, 79% of whom would consider walking away from their jobs if the company paid men and women unfairly. Nonetheless, many businesses continue to do so, with a European Commission revealing that women are paid 16% less than men on average across the continent.
In 2017, the Government Equalities Office introduced compulsory gender pay gap reporting for employers with 250 staff or more, in an attempt to increase transparency around unfair pay gaps. Highlighting their engagement with this policy, nearly a quarter of UK employees believe the reporting system should be introduced to their workplace, according to Workforce View. However, the recent stagnation in progress towards gender pay parity shows that pay gap reporting alone cannot solve the problem- still more must be done to ensure equality in the workplace. With workers in the UK increasingly refusing to ignore the problem of pay inequality, employers need to be proactive in striving for progress, or risk losing over two-thirds of their workforce.
Jeff Phipps, Managing Director at ADP UK, commented,
“Disappointingly, it seems that progress towards closing the gender pay gap has begun to stagnate, regardless of the introduction of pay gap reporting. Despite widespread calls for change, the gender pay gap appears deeply ingrained in workplaces in the UK, but employers cannot afford to be complacent. They need to recognise what’s at stake in failing to address gender inequality within their companies.
Employees are prepared to vote with their feet when it comes to unfair pay, which risks severe engagement, performance and reputational issues for the companies concerned. The Workforce View report shows that workers’ will not stay quiet- or stay put- in workplaces that don’t take inequality seriously. Communities, the government, and businesses need to work together to redefine gender roles in society, and provide policies that ensure women are supported and able to progress into senior and executive level roles. Pay gap reporting within businesses alone will not be enough to adequately address the problem – a social and political perspective is vital.” Phipps concluded.