PwC experts comment on gender pay gap reporting

Published at 09:26 AM on 06 April 2017

PwC has publicly published its gender pay gap since 2014. Discussing the impact this has had, Sarah Churchman, head of diversity at PwC, said:

“Simply reporting numbers won’t change things. This is the opportunity for organisations to understand what’s happening in their business and to take bold actions that drive to the heart of the issue. This could include organisations creating more returnship programmes and setting targets for female representation at all levels.

“The gender pay gap is just one data point that organisations should be tracking to help set informed diversity targets across the business. It will be hard to reach true equality in the workplace if organisations don’t address their gender pay gap in the wider context of their business.

“At PwC, publishing our gender pay gap since 2014 has allowed us to understand why there is a gap and hold ourselves accountable to make changes. For example, we know that a sizeable part of our pay gap is a result of having fewer women in senior positions, so this is an area where we continue to focus our efforts. We’re also challenging our recruitment processes, making more senior jobs available on a flexible or part-time basis, and have introduced a returnship programme to get senior women back into the business. We report our gender pay gap, alongside our gender targets by grade, for all to see in our digital annual report.

“Solving the UK's gender pay gap is a win-win for everyone. Our Women in Work research shows that fully closing the gender gap in the UK could boost women’s earnings by £85bn.”

Commenting on the impact on businesses, Jon Terry, partner at PwC, said:

“Gender pay reporting should be used by organisations as a catalyst to put actions in place in a measurable and transparent way, not just talk the talk on diversity. Gender pay reporting will be a new lens through which future and current employees view organisations, so it is important that businesses not only report their numbers but are open about areas for improvement and the action they’re taking. This transparency will be received positively by customers, investors and regulators who increasingly see it as a benchmark of the wider culture within a firm.  

“Organisations are realising that the numbers are only part of the story - the most important thing is setting out what they plan to do in response and how this fits with their overall approach to creating an inclusive workplace. Our survey of 130 businesses shows that more than 80% plan to provide additional narrative and context alongside their numbers and around a third will disclose additional data beyond the requirements.

“Gender pay reporting is already helping to concentrate minds, allowing businesses to understand where they need to focus efforts and providing the accountability needed for sustainable change to happen.”

Ed Stacey, head of employment law at PwC, said:

“The gender pay regulations are complex and many employers will face challenges interpreting them, preparing the data required and evaluating their results. All of this takes time and the impact from the regulations is likely to be felt quite acutely by those businesses which have not spent time addressing their pay gaps until now.

“We know from the work that we have done with our clients that improvements do not happen overnight. Change will only come from addressing gender diversity in the workplace more widely. Where businesses identify significant gender pay gaps, they will need to explain and contextualise this to their employees, their shareholders and their customers.

“The reporting requirements look set to stay and, if the government follows the lead of other countries which are further down the track, these requirements may well become more challenging in future years.

“We know that some industries, such as financial services and technology, have higher pay gaps but it will be the employers seen to be negative outliers within their industry that will face the most challenge. These outliers will need to consider not only the reputational and brand impact but the legal risks that may follow. This may include a rise in equal pay and/or sex discrimination claims and evidence of a significant gender pay gap being used by future claimants to suggest a discriminatory." environment." 



Notes to Editor:

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