Gender pay gap determines women’s choice of employer

12 October 2018

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of women would take an organisation's gender pay gap into consideration when applying for jobs, a new survey from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reveals.

The poll, commissioned to understand the impact of the gender pay gap on staff motivation and behaviour, also shows that 58% of women would be less likely to recommend their present employer as a place to work if they had a gender pay gap, and half of women say that a gender pay gap would reduce their motivation in their role and their commitment to their employer.

The findings suggest that businesses with larger pay gaps than their competitors are at risk of losing out on the best talent and suffering reputational damage if they do not take action to reduce it, placing them at a competitive disadvantage.

Women, people aged 16 to 34 and those from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds were significantly more likely to agree that their behaviour and motivation at work would be affected by a gender pay gap than men, older employees and white employees.

For example, 56% of women said that their organisation having a gender pay gap would reduce their motivation in their role, whereas only 25% of men agreed with the same statement. 39% of men said that they would feel less proud to work for an employer with a gender pay gap, compared to 60% of women.

The research also points to a worrying lack of substantive action taken by employers to close their pay gaps.

It found that whilst 91% of employees had heard of the gender pay gap, almost half had not read or heard any information about their organisation’s own gap and a quarter of employees think their employer should be doing more to tackle it.

Around three-quarters of respondents (80% of women and 69% of men) would be willing to take part in actions and activities to help their employers tackle the gender pay gap.

However, a quarter of respondents didn’t feel at all able to influence their employer’s response to tackling the gender pay gap, raising further concerns about a lack of action leading to staff disengagement. 

The EHRC recommend that employers produce action plans with specific targets and deadlines alongside their pay gap figures, which clearly set out what their data has told them and what action they will be taking to close their pay gaps.

Advice and guidance for employers to help them tackle gender inequality at work is available in EHRC’s strategy to reduce pay gaps in Britain and through its Working Forward campaign to support pregnant women and new parents. This includes advice on offering flexibility in all jobs, undertaking equal pay audits, encouraging men and women to share childcare responsibilities, and reducing prejudice and bias in recruitment, promotion and pay decisions.

The Government Equalities Office has also published a ‘What Works’ guidance for companies to help them improve the recruitment and progression of women and close their gender pay gap.