Lovewell’s logic: When is the optimum time to publish gender pay gap data?

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck

When Fujitsu and Acas reported their gender pay gap data earlier this week, they became the latest in a line of organisations to publish this information ahead of next April’s deadline.

Employers including Deloitte UK, TSB, Virgin Money, and Schroders have also voluntarily reported their gender pay gap information ahead of schedule.

A recent conversation with a City law firm highlighted that some organisations are carefully considering the timing of their announcement. Indeed, according to Mercer’s 2017 Gender pay gap reporting survey, published in July, 44% of the 165 organisations surveyed are planning to publish before the end of this year.

So, what are the advantages for employers in reporting early? Obviously, those with a relatively small gender pay gap may well want to shout about this as soon as they are able in order to enhance their reputation as an employer and achieve the associated positive PR.

Or, for the more cynically-minded, it could be used to counter any negative press or reputational issues (not that I’m suggesting this is the case for any of the organisations that have reported to date).

At the other end of the scale, the natural expectation for organisations that uncover a larger gender pay gap than they may like is that they will publish this information as close to the deadline as possible. Some organisations, however, upon recognising they face a challenge, may publish in order to set out their stall and state how they are planning to tackle their existing gap.

PWC, for example, first published its gender pay gap in 2014. It has publicly stated that its own mean gender pay gap, which stands at 13.7%, is due to demographic challenges rather than issues with core pay. Since publishing this information, it has helped employees to understand the nature of the pay gap and its 2017 gender pay report set out a number of ways in which it is approaching diversity.

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The reasons a gender pay gap exists and what needs to be done in wider HR strategy to counter this is just one of the issues that will be discussed in a session on ‘Gender pay gap reporting: getting it right’ at this year’s Employee Benefits Live on 10 October. During the session, Emma Cod, managing partner for talent at Deloitte, and Stephen Ravenscroft, partner at law firm White and Case, will also talk delegates through how to perform a consistent gender reporting exercise and how to manage the grey areas; how to review benefits and reward strategy in order to close the gap; and managing the practical and operational challenges involved.

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
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