Gender Pay 2019 - hard facts, harder figures
As the dust settles on the latest batch of Gender Pay results, we’ve had time to review the figures – and the picture isn’t especially positive.
Overall we’ve seen negligible progress on closing the pay gap between 2017 and 2018, as the average gap narrowed 0.1 percentage point to 9.6%. (Source: The Guardian)
However, upon closer inspection of the results I was struck by how near to the deadline most companies had submitted, and also by a number of unlikely looking results.
You may have never heard the excellent Russian word Shturmovshchina, but you’re likely to recognise the concept behind it. Shturmovshchina is a term from the former Soviet Union which describes a frantic last-minute effort to complete work on time, often using shoddy materials and improvised tools. Sound familiar?
Many people (myself included) require a deadline to focus the mind. However, as I know from bitter experience, leaving things to the last minute puts unnecessary pressure on yourself and inevitably makes errors more likely.
Therefore, as we dig into this year’s gender pay results, I’m not surprised to see a correlation between eleventh-hour submissions and ‘statistically improbable’ figures.
Timing is everything
- In 2018 87% of companies waited till the last two months to submit their gender wage gap data (March/April).
- This increased slightly to 88% in 2019 but there were more submissions in April this year than last (i.e. increase in last minute submissions).
- This seems strange given that this is the second year of reporting and companies should a.) be more familiar with the process and b.) have had plenty of time to prepare.
- Anecdotal evidence from our network suggests that some companies have been ready to publish for months but are trying to blend in with the crowd during the rush of last-minute submissions. This is disappointing and arguably feels against the spirit of the legislation.
Quality of reports
- Of the 8,078 employers who have submitted for both years, while the quality of submission has improved from 2018 to 2019, at first pass there are still well over 250 instances where the data submitted is incorrect, or ‘statistically improbable’.
- Examples of these anomalies include very large bonus gaps, an equal split of Male/Female in each pay quartile, or where both mean and median pay gaps have been reported as zero.
- Again, this is disappointing given that we’re now into Year 2 and you’d expect companies to get to grips with the requirements by now… especially as many commentators picked out unlikely looking data as a problem last year.
- Lack of direct sanctions may be to blame, but it’s a shame that companies aren’t taking Gender Pay seriously enough to get their sums right.
The structural inequality which is reflected across the UK’s gender pay figures is a societal problem, and we should be working together to ensure that no one’s earning potential is restricted because of their gender. Mandatory gender pay reporting is a step in the right direction but sluggish submissions and inaccurate data feel like we’re missing the point of the exercise.
If you want to get cracking with Year 3 reporting, call Innecto on 020 3457 0894 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.