How to engage with your employer on the issue of the gender pay gap

What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between the average earnings for men and women across an organisation or the labour market.

This differs from the legal entitlement to equal pay, under which men and women in the same employment performing equal work/work of equal value must be paid equally.

How can I find out about my employer’s gender pay gap?

Private and voluntary sector organisations with a headcount of 250 or more employees had to publish their 2017 gender pay gap report by 5 April 2018. If your employer was required to make a report, you’ll be able to view it on the government’s website.

The deadline for employers to publish their 2018 reports is 4 April 2019.

How can I engage with my employer on this issue?

Employers with large gender pay gaps are likely to already be putting measures in place to reduce this, but as an employee there are steps you can take to engage with your employer:

Look at the contextual narrative

Employers are encouraged, on a voluntary basis, to provide a contextual narrative on their website alongside their gender pay gap information.

If your employer has chosen to provide a narrative it may explain anomalies, e.g.:

  • general information about the workforce demographic in terms of both age and gender;
  • the existence of skills shortages for particular roles, resulting in a salary premium for anyone able to perform those roles; or
  • historical discrepancies in pay such as: a previous TUPE transfers, or the practice of red circling; or
  • factors unrelated to gender, such as regional variations.

Narratives can also explain the action being taken by your employer to narrow the gender pay gap, e.g. – initiatives it is taking to recruit or promote more women.

Speak to your line manager or a member of HR

If your employer did not publish a narrative or the narrative does not answer your questions, you could speak to your line manager or a member of HR. They may be able to give you further information on the reasons for the gap and what your employer is doing to reduce this.

How can we help?

If you’re an employee and have concerns about your employer’s gender pay gap, or an employer concerned about your gender pay gap report or narrative then please get in touch with our Employment & Immigration team.