Reporting gender pay gaps in the UK is just the start

As of today, employers with 250 members of staff or more are required by law to report their gender pay gaps. Around 9,000 public sector bodies and private companies in the UK are expected to report the difference between hourly earnings for men and women.

A difference in hourly earnings can arise for one of two reasons: differences in pay for men and women doing the same job, and/or women being disproportionately more likely to hold low-paid jobs. The distinction between the two is important for devising appropriate solutions to close the gender pay gap.

Analysis by Frontier in 2016 investigated the drivers of the gender pay gap in Further Education colleges. We found that the gender pay gap among teachers stood at around £800 per year, after accounting for the college at which individuals worked, working hours, tenure, and age. The gap was entirely driven by differences in the subjects taught by men and women. Men disproportionately taught high-paid subjects such as construction, engineering and technology, while women disproportionately taught low-paid subjects such as retailing, customer service and languages. Female non-teaching staff were paid around £2,700 per year less than their male peers, due both to women being underrepresented in managerial roles and differences in pay between male and female managers.

Today’s reporting of aggregate gender pay gaps is just the start. Deeper analysis is needed to understand differences in pay and to design appropriate responses – be it encouraging more women into technical professions, enabling women to progress into management roles, or ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work.

Frontier regularly works on matters relating to pay, labour markets and wider public policy for the private and public sectors.

For more information, please contact Saskia Nett on s.nett@frontier-economics.com, or call +44 (0)20 7031 7000.

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