Closing the Gender Pay Gap: The statistics you need to understand

New Gender Pay Gap Reporting requirements come in on April 5th 2017, meaning companies with more than 250 employees must report six mandatory statistics within a twelve-month deadline: mean and median gender pay gap, mean and median bonus gender pay gap, the gender distribution in each four pay quartiles, and the proportion of men and women receiving bonuses.

You may be surprised to learn that only 17% of senior executives believe that the new regulations will reduce the gender divide, and 29% do not see the gender pay gap as an issue. So how big of an issue is it to you, and what are you doing to prepare? There’s a difficult conundrum presenting itself here, namely: if you’re reporting a large gender pay gap, how do you intend to close it if women are put off by the size of it?

A large gender pay gap does not necessarily mean a lack of equal pay for men and women; we understand that the disproportionate amount of men in senior leadership roles will skew most statistics. This serves to highlight the complexities involved. Closing the gap requires many more women in senior roles to equalise the gender distribution across companies, and attracting them is already difficult in male-dominated industries.

If companies are serious about closing the gap by attracting, retaining and propelling more women into senior leadership roles, they need to look deeper at the statistics available to them. Why is the gap the size it is, what areas do they need to address, and what great practice can they build upon?

Importantly, how do you tell the story that sits behind your gender pay gap in such a way that reassures current and future female employees? Here I present the other statistics you need to understand and should consider publishing if you want to solve the gender pay gap conundrum.

Equal pay

Although as an HR professional or someone well-read on the topic of employment law will understand the difference between the gender pay gap and equal pay, don’t assume others will. Make sure you clearly understand what your employees are being paid at each level and that it’s fair. Publishing statistics to back-up how women and men are paid the same for doing the same jobs will act as a basic hygiene factor for any potential women looking to join your company.


What else do all potential employees want to know about? Career progression. It should be easy to calculate whether women are just as likely to get promoted in your organisation as their male counterparts, and will be a powerful message for both current and future employees.

Employee engagement

Higher job satisfaction levels among women have been linked to greater work-life balances, longer maternity leave and family-friendly environments. Consider what story your employee engagement survey reveals and use the evidence as a starting point for making your culture more inclusive. Let prospective candidates get a better feel for your company culture by publishing survey results.

Flexible working and parental leave

One of the causes of the gender pay gap is believed to be the expectation of mothers to take time off to start a family. How many people work flexibly at your organisation? How likely is it that returning mothers, and fathers, stay and build their careers with you? What is the uptake of shared parental leave? Prospective employees of both sexes will be lured by cultures which embrace flexibility.

Industry averages

Financial services is said to have the largest gender pay gap at 34%, according to PwC. Find out the average in your industry and how your gender pay gap compares, putting your performance into context. Moreover, how do the compensation and benefits you offer compare to industry averages? This will be useful information for employees considering a move elsewhere.

The deadline for reporting the gender pay gap falls one day before the 2018 ‘snapshot date’, on 4th and 5th April 2018 respectively. What this means is for your 2018 gender pay gap report to tell a better story, you need to get to the bottom of your statistics quickly and implement effective strategies that begin to close the gap.

How prepared are you to tell your story?

InsightsSue Bampton