Graduates snub companies with large gender pay gaps

New research into the impact of gender pay gap reporting on graduate recruitment concludes companies with large imbalances risk failing to attract the next generation of leaders.

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A study of 500 graduates conducted by student and graduate careers app, Debut, released after the first deadline for gender pay gap reporting suggests employers with the biggest gaps are seen as less attractive employers.It finds a full third of female graduates won’t apply to companies with high gender pay gaps. Further, while 51% of males and 59% of females may still apply, doing so would make them feel uncomfortable. 

Perceptions around gender pay gap and employer brand

Interestingly, 84% of female graduates surveyed believe companies with large gender pay gaps lack integrity – a figure that chimes with previous research on the importance of company values for candidate attraction.The findings should therefore ring alarm bells for people responsible for employer brand and recruitment. Female graduates believe the key reason for the pay gap is that these companies are “outdated and sluggish,” says Debut.

‘HR still in the dark ages’

Charlie Taylor, founder and CEO of Debut, said: “We asked 500 students and graduates for their opinion on the gender pay gap at graduate level, and a third of all female respondents said they would not apply for a job with an employer listed as promoting a gender pay gap.“The fact that the gender pay gap still exists today, at graduate level or any level in a business, is just another example of how the UK’s HR industry is still in the dark ages – it’s an industry in desperate need of modernisation and innovation.”
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Research 'a warning’

With deepening skills shortages and the tightening labour market, especially as the workforce ages, Charlie Taylor believes employer with high gender pay gaps should take graduates' views seriously. “Change is required, and quick. Gone are the days when the employer sat in the ascendency, dipping into an addressable talent pool when it suited them – today, thanks to digital technology and improved online access, it’s the candidate who is in the driving seat. "It’s their experience with employers or brands that is the most important part of the recruitment and selection process – it will define how successful brands are in the future.“This research should act as a warning from the workforce of the future – brands who are identified as having a gender pay gap are burning bridges between themselves and the best emerging talent. It’s that simple.”
Email or call Fiona Murchie on + 44 (0)1892 891334 to find out more about Relocate's new "Think Women" community.
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