Government pay transparency pilot bid to close pay gaps

A new scheme announced by the Minister for Women, Baroness Stedman-Scott, on International Women's Day will see employers volunteer to publish salaries on all job adverts.

blue tinted selective focus shot of job advert
The new initiative seeks to improve pay transparency in the job application process and “provide a firm footing for women to negotiate on a fairer basis.”

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Negotiating with confidence

Listing a salary range on a job advert and not asking applicants to disclose salary history could have a significant impact in closing salary gaps and tackling pay inequality. A Fawcett Society study shows that having to provide salary history makes everyone less confident when negotiating their pay.It has a particularly negative impact on women’s confidence, with 58% of women saying that they felt they had received a lower salary offer than they would have if the question had not been asked during the application process.Unpaid care work, including childcare and informal adult care, is disproportionately performed by women, which can have a big impact on pay and progression. Research shows that returners with degrees are, on average, paid 70% of the hourly wage of an equivalent colleague who has not taken time away from work.

‘Keep women at the forefront’

Launching the pilot on International Women’s Day, Minister for Women, Baroness Stedman-Scott, said: “The UK can only grasp its full potential by championing its brightest and best, and ensuring everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to succeed.“We believe that increased pay transparency will build on positive evidence of the role information can play when it comes to empowering women in the workplace. It is essential that we keep women at the forefront of the levelling up agenda as we recover from the pandemic and rebuild together.”Responding to news of the pilot, Jemima Olchawski, Fawcett Society, Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased that the government is encouraging employers to remove embedded bias from recruitment practices and supporting our call to End Salary History.“Asking salary history questions keeps women on lower salaries and contributes to the UK’s gender pay gap – and can mean that past pay discrimination follows women and other groups throughout their career.“Evidence from US states which have banned asking about past salary shows that is a simple, evidence-led way to improve pay equality for women, people of colour and disabled people. This is an important first step. We hope more employers will answer this call, and sign Fawcett’s pledge, as part of other actions to tackle their pay gaps.”

STEM returners

The Government also announced yesterday an extension to its returners programme. A new scheme will help women back into STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) careers. Research and employee feedback shows that returning to STEM roles after taking time out to care for loved ones can present significant challenges. This new programme will help organisations to recruit and retain talented staff who are often overlooked because of a gap on their CV, by providing training, development and employment support to those who have taken time out for caring.

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