Bad publicity and brand damage bigger concerns around gender pay than the retention of good staff

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Although the gender pay gap for full-time employees in the UK currently sits at 13.9% (Fawcett Society), over a quarter (29%) senior personnel within UK enterprises do not see is as an issue for businesses, according to research from NGA Human Resources.

 

For the senior management who do recognise the problem of the gender pay gap, the biggest concerns include the bad publicity this causes (40%) and damage to the company brand (34%). The challenge of retaining staff is a secondary issue for many.

 

Moreover, many of the research respondents stated that they believe the pay gap is due to women's personal career decisions, such as taking career breaks (49%) or working part-time (42%).

 

Only 17% of decision makers said they believe that government regulations on pay gap reporting will help to break down the divide, while one in five (20%) will not even be ready to disclose their data on time.

 

More positively, while pay levelling remains the number one solution for many companies, there is also significant support for back-to-work schemes (49%) and positive recruitment programmes, such as the Government’s budget funding for ‘returnships’ (47%).

Geoff Pearce, managing consultant, reward, at NGA HR, comments: “It is cause for concern that a significant proportion of business leaders still do not take the gender pay gap seriously. Whilst compulsory reporting is imminent, progress towards closing the gap will only be made if firms are prepared to put in place meaningful programmes. The Government’s recent funding for ‘returnships’ is a step in the right direction, yet it is up to individual businesses to develop them if the pay gap is to be reduced for good. By addressing their pay gap, organisations will not just have good figures to report on paper, but the commercial benefits of a diverse and fairly remunerated workforce, improving performance, productivity and profitability.'