As the gender pay gap deadline approaches, Women on Boards UK calls on companies to prioritise transparency and ensure that their reports are easily accessed by all stakeholder groups.
Legislation requires companies with more than 250 employees to link to their gender pay reports on their websites. Yet, in a recent study of the FTSE All-Share ex350 (the 261 companies below the largest 350 companies), Women on Boards UK found the gender pay gap reports for a quarter (25%) of these companies “extremely hard to find”.
The ‘Hidden Truth: Diversity and Inclusion in the FTSE All-Share‘ also searched for the most recently available gender pay gap data, and for the first time, analysed the figures for every FTSE All-Share company required to report (237 firms, reporting in 2020).
The data revealed that the average gender pay gap is at 20.2% for those FTSE 350 companies required to report, and at 17% for the remainder of the FTSE All-Share compared to a national average of 13.7%.
The bonus gap is even wider at 44.6% across reporting FTSE 350 companies and 36% for the remainder of the FTSE All-Share, compared to a national average of 20%.
The lack of progress on gender pay in previous years’ reports suggests there will not be a significant shift in the data filed for the 5 October 2021 deadline.
Fiona Hathorn, CEO of Women on Boards UK, says: “The reports that were hard to locate were not in ‘People’ or ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ sections of company websites, nor clearly available in their corporate governance reporting sections, or even discovered through an in-site search. We had to find the gender pay gap reports via a Google search – far from reflecting the level of visibility we believe is described in the law.
“This is not good enough. We are urging companies to move away from gender pay gap reporting as a tick-box exercise and towards using this data as a vital tool for change. That process starts with greater transparency and visibility.”
Fiona adds: “Looking at the quality of the Gender Pay Gap reports for the FTSE All-Share ex350 companies which are required to produce them, we found many demonstrated a low priority; low transparency; and were lacking in action. These are clear, if unacceptable, explanations for why their pay gaps are so high and static.”
Top tips for transparency
Women on Boards believes to achieve gender pay gap transprancey there are a number of things organisations can do. These include:
• Make it visible: Make sure your reports are accessible and easy to find by your employees and the public. Don’t bury them within an obscure section of your website; they deserve to be front and centre of your HR, people or diversity and inclusion pages.
• Make it actionable: Don’t just report the figures; share an action plan for how you intend to close the gap. Being honest and transparent about your roadmap for improvement is an essential part of gender pay gap reporting.
• Make it intersectional: Diversity is far broader than gender. Ethnicity, LGBTQ identities and disability are all-important strands that should be represented in companies’ decision making. Going forward, external monitoring and scrutiny of diversity should look at all available metrics and encourage companies to make more data available.