Gender pay audits carried out by only 29% of organisations

Chances that the Equality Bill will do more to eradicate the gender pay gap looked slim last week when a new study revealed that two-thirds of organisations had not audited salary differences between women and men.

A survey by law firm DLA Piper, of 147 senior HR professionals, found just 29% of firms had conducted gender pay audits to check they were paying both sexes equally. Only one in 20 companies ever reported on gender pay, but half (54%) admitted they were concerned women and minorities were under-represented in their organisations.

The Equality Bill: Justice for All, which was expected to launch yesterday, should attempt to address the problem by banning secrecy clauses on pay in the public and private sectors, ordering private firms bidding for state work to publish diversity statistics, and by giving power to tribunals so they can recommend that organisations change their equality policies.

The latest Office of National Statistics figures show the full-time gender pay gap stands at 17.1%.

However, Sandra Wallace, employment law partner at DLA Piper, said: “Banning pay secrecy clauses is unlikely to address the gender pay gap on its own. With many organisations unaware of the problem and others reluctant to take action, it is clear that further steps need to be taken to move towards more equal pay between men and women.”

She added that the compulsory pay audits may “yield long-term benefits”.

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