Will new gender pay transparency rules catch employers by surprise?

6th April 2017 marks the beginning of new gender pay regulations, and our research shows that the changes could take employers by surprise.

With the new regulations, individual companies will need to be transparent about any disparity in the average salaries earned by their male and female employees. But our research shows:

  • 1 in 5 employers are unsure if salaries are equal in their organisation
  • As of October 2016, over half of employers weren’t aware they would be expected to publish the data, while 58% said the information wasn’t currently available upon request
  • Over half of employers do not coach their management on promoting equal pay and gender equality, and 82% weren’t even reviewing their policies in the build up to the new regulations

The research also revealed that while women expected to be paid a shocking 25% less than their male colleagues, many women weren’t fully aware whether pay was equal or unequal in their workplaces:

  • Nearly one-third (31%) of women were unsure how their company makes decisions on salaries and bonuses
  • 25% were unsure if their employer pays everyone fairly, while 16% were unsure if their salary was unfair for the role.

Will greater transparency be enough?

The gender pay gap legislation looks set to name and shame certain employers, but it will also hopefully mean that there’s motivation to make changes, so they can ensure men and women are on a level playing field. And this can only benefit us all.

Naturally there are a few things larger employers might like to think about, but it’s up to the individual company to decide on what they want to do with the published data, as the Government hasn’t legislated specific actions to address any highlighted gender pay gaps.

Whether this increased transparency is enough to bridge the gender pay gap in the long run remains open to debate. With over half of workplaces not coaching their management on equal pay and gender equality issues, how can businesses drive greater equality if the people doing the hiring aren’t aware that it’s an issue?

At present, the rules only apply to large businesses (around 8,000 in total, affecting 11 million employees).  But what about the millions of employees at small to medium size businesses?

Nevertheless, it’ll be a great thing to see high achievers armed with information that will allow them to see which employers are better at getting women up the senior executive pipeline, and ensuring that men and women are paid equally for the same role.

These employers of course, will see big benefits by hoovering up the best talent. Who wouldn’t want that?


Research conducted in October 2016 by totaljobs, surveying 4,700 employees and 145 employers

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