EEF is back with their regular guest column, Sara Meyer the senior legal adviser reports on the gender pay gap.
With the 4 April deadline for employers with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap reports fast approaching, affected employers should be well advanced in preparations for their reports if they haven’t already done so.
ONS data published in November 2017 shows that the national average median gender pay gap across all industry sectors stands at 18.4% – that’s a reduction of 4.1% in the past decade. In the manufacturing sector, progress on reducing the gap has been slightly stronger, with a 4.5% drop since 2008; based on the latest figures, the median gender pay gap in manufacturing is 20.8%. Although the gender pay gap in our sector remains above the national average, looking at the make-up of the manufacturing workforce it is perhaps surprising that the gap isn’t higher: according to Labour Force Survey data for July to September 2017, women make up just 26.1% of the employed manufacturing sector workforce.
It’s therefore worth noting that a recent Government survey of attitudes to gender pay reporting, based on the views of 900 large employers, indicated that 61% of organisations view reducing the gender pay gap as a high (24%) or medium (37%) priority. Respondents acknowledged that recruiting more women could help reduce the gap – even if women start out in junior roles, as they work their way up to senior levels the gap will gradually fall. However, the survey also identified that many employers consider the difficulty of attracting women to work for them as a major barrier, and this was especially true of respondents in manufacturing.
Employers who are required to report and have not yet done so really must get started, as the calculations can be more complex and time consuming than anticipated – especially as there are not one but six separate metrics to report on. Getting stuck on the calculations is a particular risk in manufacturing, where pay commonly comprises multiple different allowances, each of which must be analysed to determine whether it should be included. Indeed, the complexity of the reporting requirements is highlighted by the fact that only 32% of respondents to the Government survey thought they could complete their reports without any external support or advice.
Additionally, any accompanying explanatory narrative (which we strongly recommend you produce, in order to put your figures into context) must be carefully considered and will take time to prepare.
EEF is ideally equipped to take you step by step through the gender pay reporting requirements. We will explain what you need to do and how best to do it to ensure that your organisation is not only compliant but also shown in the best possible light.
In addition, EEF can support you on a consultancy basis according to your needs, whether that involves full oversight of the reporting process or targeting a specific area of concern. For further information, please email HREnquire@eef.org.uk