Closing the Gender Pay Gap; Helen Bradley, Strategic Communications Lead at Women's Economic Development Charity Chwarae Teg, Explains the New Gender Pay Gap Legislation

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 21, 2018 | Go to article overview

Closing the Gender Pay Gap; Helen Bradley, Strategic Communications Lead at Women's Economic Development Charity Chwarae Teg, Explains the New Gender Pay Gap Legislation


Byline: charity Chwarae

Last year the UK Government announced that companies with more than 250 employees would have a year to work out their gender pay gap from April 2017.

The deadline for reporting this data is now on our doorstep.

Large UK businesses have known for some time that they would eventually be forced to start calculating and reporting their gender pay gap. The results are expected to demonstrate a persistent pay gap across the board.

But before we can truly understand what the publication of this data will mean for organisations here in Wales and the position of women in business, first we must grasp what the gender pay gap really represents.

The pay gap and equal pay have become very familiar terms in the media, particularly over the last year. A number of recent high-profile cases involving major national organisations have started to shed light on the extent of pay disparity in the UK, and the subject has become a significant point of interest in the public sphere.

The gender pay gap and equal pay are, however, not the same thing. Equal pay refers to the same pay for the same or similar work and is enforceable under the Equal Pay Act 1970. The gender pay gap measures the difference in average earnings between men and women and provides an indication of the extent to which the types of jobs women are doing are impacting on their earning potential.

In order to meet the legal requirements of gender pay gap reporting, around 9,000 firms will have to submit their gender pay gap calculations to a Government website by April 4, or by March 30 for public sector organisations.

As it stands, the gender pay gap is at almost 15% overall in Wales, but it is as high as 30% in some sectors such as advanced materials and manufacturing.

Women's employment is concentrated in low-paid areas of the economy, and this divide extends even further to the Welsh Government's nine priority sectors for supporting investment. In 2014, some 30% of women in work were employed in a priority sector, compared to 56% of men.

These figures also show that not enough women are being promoted to the more senior, high-paid roles, and that women are most likely to be in part-time employment. Here in Wales, 80% of part-time workers are women.

A particular issue for women in work is under-utilisation, which is when employees have skills and qualifications above those required for their current role.

Under-utilisation in Wales takes place most prominently in public administration, education, and health and social work, all sectors in which the workforce tends to be more dominated by women. …

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