UK companies ‘don’t know how’ to fix gender pay gap

The Young Women’s Trust say women still feel uncomfortable arguing for fairer pay

‘We didn’t know how’ is the main excuse for the one in 10 UK organisations that have not improved gender pay gap, according to a new survey by Young Women’s Trust found published this International Women’s Day.

Up to 30 per cent of the 800 organisations polled admitted they had taken no measures to close the pay gap over the last year. Paying employees different salaries on the grounds of gender is illegal.  

In April 2018, it was made mandatory for companies who employ upwards of 250 people to release their pay gap statistics. At this time it was revealed that some UK giants were paying women on average 18.4 per cent less than men. Easyjet reported a 51.7 per cent difference in gender pay and HSBC had a 59 per cent gap on average.

The trust say that young women in particular express little faith in their employers resolve to tackle the pay gap problem – more than half felt uncomfortable challenging their employers.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton said: “Women face a gender pay gap from the moment they start work and it is not going away.

We need urgent action to improve young women’s prospects and give them hope for the future. An easy start would be to include salary details in job adverts and ban the ‘current salary’ question in interviews, which only serves to perpetuate low pay rather than valuing women’s work for what it is.”  

Almost a fifth of women aged 18-30 say they are paid less than their male colleagues for the same or similar work, Young Women’s Trust found. Nearly 40 per cent say their organisation does not take proactive measures to reduce the pay gap.

Through its #saywhatyoupay campaign the trust asks the government to promote wage transparency by compelling employers to advertise salary details.  

Words: Anna Whealing