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Gender pay gap widens at almost half of UK’s largest companies

Apr 08
Tags: UK: London
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According to the analysis, 45 per cent of companies have seen an increase in the difference in pay between their male and female employees. Overall, a staggering 78 per cent of businesses had a pay gap which favoured men. In comparison, just 14 per cent of companies had a pay gap which favoured female employees. Meanwhile, seven per cent of the firms analysed showed no movement in their gender pay gaps. 

Countrywide Services was the worst offender, with a gender pay gap of 60.6 per cent, while Independent Vetcare’s gap stood at 48.3 per cent. Rounding out the top three was budget airline Easyjet, which was flying high with a gender pay gap of 47.9 per cent. 

Meanwhile, the companies that showed the biggest increase in the discrepancy between what male and female employees are paid included Kwik Fit, Interserve FS, and Inchape.

In more positive news, Newsquest Media Group, Mitie, and DFDS logistics showed the biggest improvement when it came to closing their gender pay gaps. 

Organisations with at least 250 employees - including companies, charities, and public sector departments - were given until midnight on April 4th to file their pay gap data. This information must take into account both basic pay and bonuses. 

Overall, there was found to be a minute drop in the median gender pay gap since last year, from 9.7 per cent to 9.6 per cent. The median pay gap is worked out through a comparison of the difference in pay between the middle-ranking man and middle-ranking woman from the same company. 

Submission of this data is in compliance with legislation introduced two years ago. While the legislation was introduced in 2010, by Harriet Harman’s Equality Act, it wasn’t enforced for years, until David Cameron agreed to make reporting compulsory.

Companies that miss the deadline for reporting their pay data each year will face action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady commented: "Big employers clearly aren't doing enough to tackle the root causes of pay inequality and working women are paying the price.”

She suggested that the government should “crank up the pressure”, with companies compelled to do more than simply publish their gender pay gaps. 

“They should be legally required to explain how they'll close them, and bosses who flout the law should be fined.”

Ms O’Grady added: "We can't allow another generation of women to spend their whole working lives waiting to be paid the same as men."

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the European Human Rights Commission, told BBC News that the causes of gender pay gap are “complex and deeply entrenched”.

"Meaningful change will take time and concerted effort, with some changes potentially increasing gaps in the short term, such as employing more women at junior levels before they rise into more senior positions,” she said. 

"That is why it is vital that employers publish action plans to explain their figures and highlight where they will be targeting any inequality in their workplace."

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