EXCLUSIVE: More than half of employers have delved deeper into gender pay gap

pay analysis

EXCLUSIVE: More than half (57%) of organisations have conducted additional analysis to identify drivers behind their gender pay gap figures, and 9% are looking to carry out an equal pay audit, according to bi-annual research by reward management consultancy Paydata.

The autumn edition of the UK reward management survey took place between September and November 2018, canvassing the opinions of 138 respondents from organisations across various sectors, including construction, publishing, education and healthcare. Individual respondents ranged from HR and finance directors to reward and compensation specialists.

The report also found that the proportion of organisations that do not report on their gender pay gap statistics has dropped from 62% in 2017 to 26% in 2018, while 17% are expanding their approach to look at wider equality issues, such as age, ethnicity and disability.

The majority (72%) of those that report their gender pay gap statistics reported no issues with the requirements. Although 20% stated that it was too early to tell, likely due to being currently exempt, 8% had faced problems; these included defining next steps, gathering accurate data, communication with employees, and there being no overnight way to fix the gap.

In terms of how pay is formulated, approximately one-third (35%) of organisations use a combination of across the board and individually determined pay increases. The number of employers using individually determined increases has dropped from 28% at the time of Paydata’s spring UK reward management survey, to 17% in the autumn.

Almost two-thirds (63%) expect the number of employees receiving bonuses to remain the same over the next 12 months, and 46% say that the size of the payments themselves will also remain unchanged. More organisations expect an increase (16%) in the number of individuals receiving bonus payments than a decrease (9%).

All respondents (100%) stated that they offer long-term incentive plans to main board directors, and the majority (86%) also provide them to other directors and senior executives. Only a small number offer long-term incentive plans to middle managers (8%) and other employees (8%).

In terms of the benefits supplied to employees beyond pay and bonuses, the only universal provision is annual leave (100%), closely followed by pensions (98%). Childcare vouchers (92%), employee assistance programmes (EAPs) (90%) and occupational sick pay (86%) make up the rest of the top five most popular benefits among employers.

Tim Kellett, director at Paydata, said: “Recognition schemes are not just financial, they cover tokens of appreciation. In sectors where traditional benefits have been valued for years, such as construction’s emphasis on cash, base salary and allowances, they are realising that they need to be more flexible to bolster their recruitment and retention.”

To aid employees with health and wellbeing, 74% of organisations have a cycle to work scheme, 75% provide private medical insurance, and 54% offer health check-ups. Among the other benefits supplied by organisations, 19% provide a volunteering allowance, 38% offer help with relocation expenses, and 46% have a season ticket loan scheme.

Kellett said: “The report [illustrates] the different approaches organisations take when it comes to defining and promoting wellbeing in the workplace. A more creative approach to benefits is on the rise, covering volunteering and a holistic focus on wellbeing.”

More than two-thirds (68%) of employers stated that they had conducted a review of whether their benefits package was fit for purpose over the last 12 months, and 83% voiced the intention to do so over the next year.

“Our bi-annual survey results really highlight the renewed focus on employee benefits and the value these bring to employees,” Kellett concluded. “Employees can sometimes favour receiving better benefits over actual wage increases. Employers are using them as a critical tool to improve wellbeing, covering physical and mental health, leading to more satisfied and productive workplaces.”