As the deadline for the first gender pay reports passed on 6 April, businesses up and down the UK with 250 employees or more published their pay gap findings.
The disparity between male and female workers was worse than many had feared, with the difference in UK hourly wages between genders hovering at around 18.4 per cent on average.
But, as some shocking gender pay gap statistics came in from some of Britain’s largest corporations, one small Bristol-based tech firm published its own gender pay data, with some uplifting results.
Demonstrating that SMEs are perhaps better equipped than big businesses to treat staff equally, a report from cloud computing firm intY showed that female staff at the company were paid three per cent more than male staff on average.
The figure is based on the level of pay that separates the top half of earners at the company from the bottom half – the median – however when like-for-like jobs at intY were analysed, women and men at the Bristol tech company were found to have been paid exactly the same.
intY’s gender pay figures seriously bucked the industry trend. In the UK technology sector, men are typically paid 18 per cent more than women in comparable jobs on average, making tech companies some of the worst offenders for gender pay disparity.
Speaking with Real Business, intY’s CEO Craig Joseph said that by basing its conclusions on the median value of company salary data, the government has only gained a “basic indication” of gender pay disparity in British businesses.
Criticising the government’s strategy, Joseph added: “It doesn’t factor in the role or the seniority of both genders, which is equally as important when monitoring equal opportunities in the workplace.
“It is intY’s position that pay for like-for-like roles should be equal regardless of gender and comparing salaries across the business based on gender alone, without context, is misleading.”
The report published by intY showed that a third of the cloud computing firm’s 56 staff were female, but that women filled 57 per cent of its management roles. Some 31 per cent of women that worked at intY held senior positions, whilst 40 per cent of its board members were female.
Asked why intY, as an SME, published gender pay data when it wasn’t legally required to do so, Joseph answered that it was important all businesses became more transparent about the issue.
“I would have published our findings regardless of whether it was in favour of women,” he claimed. “I truly believe that if every company does their bit, whether they have ten employees or 10,000, then in the not so distant future we will no longer have an equal gender pay issue in our society.
Joseph went on to say that because gender inequality had become so ingrained throughout society as well as in business, a root-and-branch approach was needed to tackle the issue, with responsibility falling on industry bodies and business leaders as much as government.
“Historically, men were expected to be the main earners in a household, and women assumed the job of running a home, [but] there is a lot more to this such as the maternity/paternity leave balance and discrimination against women of child-bearing age.
“What should be addressed and what the median average won’t show, is whether male and females are paid the same to do the same job, and whether women are being encouraged and supported to go into more senior, higher paid roles. It’s going to take time for society to evolve, [but] we’re definitely in a period of change though, which intY demonstrates.”
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