Large companies to be forced to reveal gender pay gaps

The government is to oblige all companies operating in the UK with more than 250 staff to publish details of their gender pay gaps, which will then be included in league tables to identify firms failing to achieve equality.

Equal pay
Ministers also promised a drive to encourage 15,000 more girls study maths, engineering, science and technology at school by 2020, a 20 per cent increase on current levels.Under the equality league tables proposal – the first of which will be published in 2018 – 8,000 employers in different sectors will have to to publish their average pay and bonus gaps between men and women.Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, commented, "Today's announcement is a welcome, but long overdue, step in the right direction. Mandatory reporting should encourage large companies to take action to close their gender pay gaps."However, while we welcome this requirement for more transparency, we are concerned that the proposals do not appear to provide any sanction for failure to comply. If companies are to take this seriously, we need to be able to use our enforcement powers to ensure that they do what is required."Nicky Morgan, the equalities minister, said the aim was to secure "real equality" for women. "In recent years we've seen the best employers make ground-breaking strides in tackling gender inequality," she said."But the job won't be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognised equally and fairly in every workplace."That's why I am announcing a raft of measures to support women in their careers from the classroom to the boardroom, leaving nowhere for gender inequality to hide."At the same time I'm calling on women across Britain to use their position as employees and consumers to demand more from businesses, ensuring their talents are given the recognition and reward they deserve."But Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said, "League tables should not be used to name and shame firms, as data will only be able to present a partial picture, particularly given factors such as the mix of part-time and full working and sectoral differences."Where reporting can be useful is as a prompt for companies to ask the right questions about how they can eradicate the gender pay gap."The government should consult closely with business to ensure that this new legislation helps close the gender pay gap, rather than ending up as a box-ticking exercise."Joe Wiggins, careers trends analyst at international recruitment company Glassdoor, which has just published an international survey on attitudes to equal pay, said, "A league table will bring pay transparency into the spotlight and this will the change the recruitment landscape beyond recognition in coming years."A crucial factor of attracting talent will hinge on companies' success in closing their gender pay gap. Job-seekers overwhelmingly support equal pay. Companies need to sit up and take notice: a gender pay divide is no longer socially acceptable."The Trades Union Congress described it as "shocking" that the gender pay gap in Britain was still more than 19 per cent for all workers and 9.4 per cent for full-time employees.Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary, said, "If David Cameron is serious about ending the gender pay gap within a generation, we need a much bolder approach from ministers."While today's announcement is a step in the right direction, we're disappointed that firms won't have to publish their gender pay gap figures until 2018."It is a real shame that bosses won't be made to explain why pay gaps exist in their workplaces and what action they will take to narrow them."

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