Reset the Timeline on Gender Pay Gap Analysis and Reporting

Everyone’s talking about how much the world of work has changed over the past year; a mass exodus from the office, increased flexibility, and the highs and lows of furlough… I’m sure you’ve read the articles. Let us forget the pandemic for a moment and turn back time to the 6 April 2017. 

The UK was still in the EU, Donald Trump was in his first 100 days, and the Gender Pay Gap (GPG) reporting legislation had just come into force. With the first reports not due until 4 April the following year, employers had been given nearly a year to digest what they had to do and do it. The long runway upto the first deadline also led to an anxious feeling amongst employers across the UK. No one wanted to be the first to submit; What if their competitors had outperformed them? What if the press singled them out to the British public for their “shocking Gender Pay Gap”? What if their current or future talent, investors, or customers read it? This anxiety led to the majority of employers submitting very close to the deadline in April 2018; treating it like a tax return – time consuming admin work, to be avoided until the last possible moment.

Just like Brexit and Trump’s presidency, GPG reporting was not off to a good start.

Since then, the legal requirement to report has been suspended (2020), extended (2021), and so, four years into the process the impact is not what we at Spktral had hoped.

Why now?

The pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on women due to care responsibilities, furlough, job losses, etc. Now, more than ever, organisations need to understand how the representation of women and men throughout their workforce is changing so that they can take the necessary steps to address and avert inequalities. Aside from this being the right thing to do, there are countless studies evidencing the benefits of a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace. Gender Pay Gap analysis and reporting should not be suspended or delayed any longer.

So, let’s Reset the Timeline

Along with other like-minded businesses and equality campaigners, we are on a mission to help you “Reset the Timeline” on Gender Pay Gap analysis and reporting. But what does that mean?

Organisations with 250 or more employees must submit their Gender Pay Gap report to the Government every year (30 March for public sector and 4 April for Private and third sector employers). Although this is the deadline, the data for this report is based on a snapshot date from the previous year. For example:

  • Public sector: 31 March 2021 is your snapshot date for the report due by 30 March 2022.
  • Private and third sector: 5 April 2021 is your snapshot date for the report due by 4 April 2022.

Most employers should have all the information they need to produce their gender pay gap figures by the beginning of May. However, as shown in the chart below, in previous years the majority of organisations delayed publishing this data until very close to the deadline. 

Data source: GOV.UK Gender Pay Gap Service, Analysis by Spktral.

In 2018 less than 2% of organisations submitted their report before the end of July. This figure is startlingly low and it is important to note that an organisation could produce their report earlier but wait until April to publish it. However, this is a missed opportunity for organisations to be transparent about their situation, before implementing action plans and changing things that will speed up progress on improving representation in their workforce.

Do you want to have a positive story to tell about your Gender Pay Gap in 2022? Then we challenge you to reset your timeline: start thinking about this today, get your analysis done over the next couple of months with the aim to submit your report and publish your narrative and action plan by 31st July. 

Sooner – Better – More

We challenge you to Reset the Timeline on Gender Pay Gap Analysis and Reporting and do it sooner, do it better, and start doing more.

  1. Sooner: Start this now and speed up progress on closing pay gaps. You should have all the information you need to start your GPG analysis today. We challenge you to complete this by 31 July. 
  1. Better: Improve this whole process by shifting your focus away from just reporting and pay gap percentages and towards outcomes, representation, action plans and progress.
  1. More: Think bigger than Gender Pay Gaps – your stakeholders already are. Show your commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace and look at what you need to do to start analysing characteristics like Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality.

Your new timeline

Gender Pay Gap Reporting 2021

How to do it better

  • Stop focusing on the pay gap percentages. This is the aggregation of an entire organisation down to a single percentage – this is a very blunt instrument that does not explain the gaps. Looking at the representation of each gender across the pay range of the organisation, and comparing this to the overall gender balance is distinctly more powerful and shows you where you have potential gaps. This is a much better approach to Gender analysis and it is critical when you move beyond Gender to Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality.
  • Focus on the outcomes required to drive progress towards a fairer state – some good examples are:
    • Reducing pay gaps by improving the representation of all types of people throughout the entire pay range of the organisation; and
    • Removing biases from systems processes and people.
  • The GEO now recommends that you include a supporting narrative and employer action plan to your GPG report. The supporting narrative can run throughout the report to explain your view on why gender pay gaps exist in your organisation and what you’ve done so far to change that. Publishing your action plan is a very public commitment to improving your gender pay gap. This is important, but remember if you are going to talk-the-talk in your pay gap report, make sure you walk-the-walk by making real improvements for your employees.
  • Bonus tip: Date your report on the year the snapshot data is based on. E.g. The report you submit by April 2022 should be called your 2021 Gender Pay Gap report.

How to do more

There is increasing social pressure to provide other types of pay gap analysis alongside GPG analysis and it’s not going away.  Indeed, many FTSE 100, 250 and 350 organisations are releasing what they term as Diversity Reports where they examine Gender, Disability, Ethnicity and Sexuality in one document.

However, it is very clear that while the intention is good, some organisations do not have the appropriate expertise to carry out this process in a way that can help them drive real change.  Before organisations rush to analyse their Ethnicity or other pay gaps a few things need to be considered:

  • Communication, transparency and trust

To succeed in collecting data, you need clear communication and the right culture in place. This is necessary for legal reasons – GDPR states you must say why you need the data and what you will use it for – but also to increase transparency and ultimately build trust with your employees. Leaders who are getting this right are the ones communicating with their employees and bringing them along on their journeys. If you don’t get this right, it’s unlikely they will give you the data you need to accurately analyse your pay gaps.

  • Analysing not just reporting

There needs to be a paradigm shift from reporting to correctly analysing data. This may require additional expertise. Reporting numbers does nothing if it doesn’t form part of a wider business strategy, analysis, or action plan.

  • Focus on representation

Stop thinking about your pay gap figures and start thinking about the representation of people throughout your organisation. As you zoom in and out of the data looking at both the broad and granular picture, you should also consider intersectional differences – for example, the pay gap and representation of Chinese woman vs Black man. 

Join us and #ResetTheTimeline

We are a movement of leading businesses and equality groups, who all support the mission of resetting the timeline on pay gap analysis and reporting. We would love you to join our movement! Get in touch


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