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How the UK Plans to Close the Gender Pay Gap


Last July, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to force companies to reveal how much male and female employees are paid, as well as how many men and women occupy roles at various levels of the organization. Currently, the initiative will only apply to businesses with 250 workers or more, but regardless, this is a huge step forward in the fight for equal pay. Here are just a few of the likely benefits that will be a result of this new data collection.

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(Photo Credit: Kathryn Yengel/Flickr)

“The new regulation requires companies to submit several pieces of data: the mean and median difference between male and female employees’ pay, the number of men and women in each quartile of the employer’s full pay range, the difference between the average bonuses paid to women and men, and the proportion of men and women who receive bonuses at all,” writes Christina Cauterucci at Slate.

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Naming and Shaming

If a UK-based company employs more than 250 workers – and there are currently around 8,000 of these – they will be listed on the Government Equalities Office’s searchable website by 2018. As the public can view which companies are paying their female workers less than their male counterparts, this will quickly result in bad PR for those that don’t value equal pay for equal work.

While keeping up appearances shouldn’t be the reason businesses decide to treat their employees equally regardless of gender, the “shaming” aspect of the plans may go far in motivating them to act. 

Empower the Employees

Again, the fact that this information will be available to the public and searchable is significant. It’s likely that when you’re weighing a job offer, or considering applying for a position, you do some research on the company. If you’re a woman, it would be hugely beneficial to know whether a business is in the habit of paying its female employees just as it does its male ones. Companies should want to recruit the best and the brightest, and putting out this information makes it more likely that qualified candidates will be getting in touch.

Transparency Domino Effect

A huge issue with addressing the gender pay gap has been the lack of transparency around salary information. The more information that comes to light concerning how employees are compensated and treated, the better. It’s good for incentivizing the business to improve standards, it’s great for prospective and current employees to know what’s really going on, and it allows trust to grow over time. With President Obama having announced a similar plan from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, hopefully this is something we will see effect change in the U.S., too.

Tell Us What You Think

Is David Cameron’s plan a positive step forward in the fight to close the gender pay gap? Do you think politicians should be doing more? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts, or join the conversation on Twitter.

Kirsty Wareing
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