Gender Pay Gap: No Small Change Report


06 Jul 2017


An inquiry led by the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee has concluded that there remains to be a gender-based problem within Scotland’s workforce.

Intended as a starting point to understand the reasons behind Scotland’s Gender Pay Gap and the role of the Scottish Government in closing it, the inquiry has observed a number of factors including current challenges, evidence from experts, contributions from individuals, statements from witnesses, and more.

The inquiry itself concentrated on three main areas:

  • How we define and measure the gender pay gap
  • The gender pay gap in the sectors of Scotland’s economy
  • Scottish Government action that is being taken, and can be taken, to reduce the gender pay gap

The committee noted that the Scottish Government uses a 6% figure to represent the gender pay gap in Scotland, but is not persuaded that this accurately and conclusively represents the reality of the situation. The Committee heard from a range of witnesses during the inquiry, who suggested that more than one measure is needed to give an accurate reflection of the gender pay gap. The Committee agreed with this. The committee also recommended that the Scottish government develop a suite of indicators to measure the underlying causes of the gap, using a comprehensive data set. One prominent point published within the report recognised the number of women positioned at different stages of the career scales.

Rob Marrs, Head of Education at the Law Society of Scotland, wrote: “The sheer dominance of females at the junior end of the profession is astonishing. Women outnumber men two to one on the LLB, diploma, and traineeship and have done for over two decades. Women have outnumbered men at point of admission for over 20 years in a row.” Nevertheless, he recognised that there is a difference between access to a profession and progression within it. The Law Society told the Committee that only 28% of partners are female. Social media responses also feature prominently within the report, with women in Scotland posting their own social media messages explaining why ending the #GenderPayGap matters to them.

Clare Parkinson, Croner Reward Business Manager, says: "Many organisations do not seem to understand that this has already started. "It may be the case that an organisation will need to declare their gender pay gap in April 2018, but the information required for reporting these figures lies within April 2017 to April 2018 - so now. "If companies do have a gender pay gap they need to close, my advice would be to look into this now when you still have time to act and rectify it, prior to you being required to declare it publically in April 2018. "We have already helped hundreds of businesses to create their gender pay gap reports prior to April 2017 so they're able to see, internally, what their situation is prior to publishing their figures and making them publically available in April 2018. This has given our clients the window they need to identify and close any existing gap."

Croner Reward Findings:

  • In 11% of the reports completed, we've reported a mean hourly pay rate where the gap is in favour of the female workforce.
  • In 16% of the reports completed we've reported a median hourly rate where the pay gap is in favour of the female workforce.
  • We've seen in many cases that bonus gaps are heavily influenced by the number of males in the top pay quartiles compared to the number of females.

Equal Pay

The confusion between equal pay and gender pay is also addressed within the report, with witnesses reporting that “as more and more companies begin to publish their gender pay gap information, [the media] will become more critical in ensuring that the general public have a reasonable understanding of the differences between equal pay and the gender pay gap.” The Committee noted that equal pay claims do still exist in Scotland, despite unequal pay on the basis of gender being illegal in the UK for over 40 years, and is disappointed that there are still live claims. The Committee recognised that this is a contributing factor to the gender pay gap, and calls on all employers to ensure, by carrying out equal pay audits, that their pay systems do not discriminate on grounds of gender.

ACAS Advice

On Thursday 29th June at Croner’s HR Leaders’ Summit, Malcolm Boswell, Director at ACAS, spoke about the Gender Pay Gap, and reiterated their message for employers not to panic. At the conference, Malcolm stated that gender pay reporting did not normally fall in the remit of a HR professional, and resources from across the company should be drawn upon to calculate the required figures. Alternatively, Malcolm pointed out, there are many companies offering comprehensive Gender Pay reporting services, such as Croner.

Croner Gender Pay Reporting

Gender pay reporting became mandatory on April 5th this year for companies employing 250+ staff, and although there are no direct ramifications for those who do not publish their results before April 4th 2018, the Government’s intention is to name and shame.  So to avoid bad PR and to demonstrate their commitment to employee engagement and staff retention, we are encouraging companies to act now and publish their results as soon as possible.

To support this, Croner have put together a cost-effective one-stop solution making the process as simple as possible, from initial preparation to analysis, conclusions and recommendations.  This solution comes with the added benefit of free access to our employment advice team to discuss or help solve and HR or employment law issues that may arise from the report. To find out more about the service or enquire, visit here. Access the full report here.

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