29% do not view the gender pay gap as a business issue

More than a quarter (29%) of senior decision maker respondents do not view the gender pay gap as an issue for businesses, according to research by NGA Human Resources.

Its survey of 250 senior decision makers at UK organisations that are eligible for gender pay gap reporting from April 2017, also found that 20% of respondents will not be ready to disclose the required gender pay gap data by the government’s deadline.

The research also found:

  • 26% of respondents who see the gender pay gap as a business issue identify staff retention as one of the challenges it poses, 33% cite recruitment challenges, and 20% identify the potential for pay rise demands.
  • 40% of respondents who view the gender pay gap as a business issue cite bad publicity as a problematic external effect, and 34% cite brand damage.
  • 49% of respondents think the gender pay gap is partly caused by the fact that women are more likely to take career breaks, or work part time (42%).
  • More than a quarter (27%) of respondents identify a lack of women in senior management positions as a reason for the gender pay gap, and 20% cite a lack of female representation in the overall workforce as a factor.
  • 17% of respondents believe that regulations on gender splits will reduce the gender pay gap.
  • More than half (57%) of respondents believe that pay levelling will help to close the gender pay gap, 49% of respondents feel that back-to-work schemes can help to mitigate the gender pay gap, and 47% believe recruitment schemes, such as returnships, can help close the gap.
  • 14% of male respondents believe a gender pay gap plan is unnecessary, compared to 7% of female respondents.

Geoff Pearce, managing consultant, reward at NGA Human Resources, said: “It is cause for concern that a significant proportion of business leaders still do not take the gender pay gap seriously. While compulsory reporting is imminent, progress towards closing the gap will only be made if [organisations] are prepared to put in place meaningful programmes.

“The government’s funding for returnships is a step in the right direction, yet it is up to individual businesses to develop them if the pay gap is to be reduced for good. By addressing their pay gap, organisations will not just have good figures to report on paper, but the commercial benefits of a diverse and fairly remunerated workforce, improving performance, productivity and profitability.”