Has Gender Pay Gap Reporting resulted in more openness?

26 February 2019


Overall across private, public and third sectors, when asked through a CIPP poll if GPG reporting has resulted in more openness in the workplace on the subject of pay and reward, almost three quarters said no, it hadn’t.


“Has gender pay gap reporting resulted in more openness in the subject of pay and reward in your organisation?”


This is the question we asked through our website quick poll during the end of January and beginning of February and we were interested to see what the breakdown looked like per sector. We received 193 responses in total.


Private sector

Yes 9%

No 51%

Improving 12%


Public sector

Yes 4%

No 20%

Improving 0%


Third sector

Yes 1%

No 3%

Improving 0%


As the results show ‘No’ is in the majority but we are only heading for the end of the of the second reporting year and it is encouraging to see that there are also some positive results in there too. (Please do bear in mind that our polls are just a snapshot in time, a one question poll which does limit the responses and does not cater for follow up).


BEIS recommendations

At the end of January this year the government response to Gender Pay Gap (GPG) recommendations made by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee was published.


Some of the recommendations made by the BEIS committee were identified by CIPP members during the consultation, particularly around the method of certain calculations. With regard to the openness and transparency element of GPG reporting, one of the recommendations made by the BEIS committee is that organisations should be required to provide some narrative reporting alongside their gender pay statistics and an action plan setting out how pay gaps are being and will be addressed, including objectives and targets. Subsequent reports should report progress against this action plan, including targets set.


The government responded to this recommendation saying that it estimates that approximately 48% of employers have published action plans alongside their figures in the first year of reporting and will continue to encourage all organisations to do so in future years. The government said that it will continue to engage with employers and their membership bodies to provide best practice guidance on constructing an action plan. Publishing an action plan was intentionally not included as a mandatory requirement under the reporting regulations and while the government urges all employers to produce an action plan alongside their figures, it is aware that including it as a mandatory requirement might result in a prescriptive format with limited value to employers and employees.


The government also added that employers can view the diverse range of action plans produced by organisations in the first year of reporting on the Government portal to assist with their own action plans in the second and subsequent years.


GEO guidance

In February the Government Equalities Office (GEO) published two new pieces of guidance to help employers.


‘Eight ways to understand your gender pay gap’ asks companies to identify potential areas for improvement, such as; whether women tend to enter the company in lower paid positions than men, whether there is a difference in performance scores within the organisation depending in relation to gender and whether individuals who are employed on a part-time basis are being supported to advance within the company.


Alongside this, the GEO also published a ‘four-step guide’ to help companies develop an effective GPG action plan. The guide encourages employers to analyse and understand why they have a gap, working with staff to find out what they can be doing better and developing an action plan accordingly.


The guide also encourages businesses to give the action plan time to make an impact, so it will be interesting to see the trends year on year as GPG reporting continues to the 5-year review point in 2022.


- The CIPP run a half day course on Gender Pay Gap reporting and HR implications which is available both online and face to face -