One in ten employers admit to paying women less than men for jobs at the same level, according to a YouGov survey for the charity Young Women’s Trust. Nearly half say publishing gender pay gaps will not make a difference to pay and a fifth think equal pay will never be achieved.
The survey of 800 HR decision-makers shows that it’s not just the BBC that has a problem with under-paying women. Ten per cent of those asked in the private sector and 13 per cent in the public sector said they were aware of women being paid less in their workplace.
In the UK, the full-time gender pay gap is 14 per cent. At the slow rate it is narrowing, it will take another 50 years to close the gap. By then, today’s young women will have retired. Many employers think the gap will never be closed.
Young Women’s Trust research shows that the pay gap for young women apprentices is even bigger than the average. They earn 21 per cent less than their male counterparts, leaving them £2,000 a year worse off. Often this is because the sectors women tend to work in, like care, administration and retail, are more likely to be poorly paid.
The government is now making organisations publish their gender pay gaps by April 2018 but employers doubt the effectiveness of this. Nearly half (44 per cent) of those making hiring decisions say the measure introduced last April will not lead to any change in pay levels. Female employers are even more pessimistic than men, with more than half saying it will not work.
Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE says, ‘We need urgent action to close the gap. Gender pay gap reporting is a great step forward but does not go far enough to close the gap. The new legislation will only be effective if the government puts in place and enforces penalties for firms that fail to report their pay gaps accurately. Where pay gaps do exist, like at the BBC, Young Women’s Trust would like to see that companies are obliged to put in place plans to reduce them.
‘Pay transparency alone will not change the gender stereotypes that often determine the types of roles men and women take and the industries they work in. We need action to support young women into male-dominated areas if we are to achieve equal pay. Providing more part-time and flexible working opportunities, for example, including for apprenticeships, would help many women balance work and family life.
‘Without action, today’s young women face a lifetime of unequal pay.’
Young Women’s Trust is working to help young women into the better-paid male-dominated apprenticeships to help close the gender pay gap.