Larger ACE members are now required to publish an annual report detailing their gender pay gap (GPG).
The deadline for publication is fast-approaching – 4 April 2018 – and a number of private sector employers have already complied, producing reports which are available to view at the government website.
For those who are not aware, the reporting obligations require ACE members with 250 or more employees to calculate their GPG using both the mean and median average hourly pay for male and female employees. The range of pay needs to be split into four bands ('quartiles') and the proportion of men and women in each band published. The number of men and women who receive bonuses each year and the GPG in relation to bonuses also needs to be included. The report has to be published on the ACE member's own website and uploaded to the government website above. ACE members can include voluntary comments explaining the reasons behind the data and outlining any plans they have to narrow their particular GPG.
The office of National Statistics has recently published an online tool so that anyone can view the GPG for their particular occupation.
ACE members will note that it covers a number of relevant roles. For construction project managers and related professionals, women are paid 3.2% less than men. For engineering technicians, women are paid 12.2% less than men. For full-time civil engineers, women are paid 7.3 % less than men. That being so, ACE members are best advised to give serious consideration to providing a voluntary narrative to set the context for their GPG. It can also provide a good opportunity to showcase what ACE members are doing to encourage more gender diversity and equality.
Earlier this month, the Department for Education and the Government Equalities Office published research on employers’ attitudes to the GPG reporting requirements. Of the 900 employers surveyed, less than 25% of employers felt that the GPG was a high priority, while 1/3 thought it was a low or non-priority. A number of reasons were given as to why the GPG was not a higher priority for them, including the belief that they did not have a significant gap, or merely a lack of interest in the issue among senior managers.
The most notable reason in the engineering sector, the report suggested, was that employers assumed that they would not be able to close the gap in their sectors and, although they agreed with the principle, they felt that there was such a scarcity of female candidates interested in or qualified for their particular area that they would be unable to narrow the gap and so did not want to prioritise it with little prospect of success. It will be interesting to see if these attitudes evolve over time, as more attention is applied to the gender pay gap, or whether even more needs to be done in terms of education and training before the GPG can narrow in the consulting and engineering sectors.
ACE members should be in no doubt that there will be more scrutiny as the deadline for publication approaches in 2018.