News | Legal News

17 November 2017

Firms struggling to calculate gender pay gap

Around two in five employers do not fully understand the term "gender pay gap" (GPG), despite regulations on transparency being in force since April.

A survey of company directors and HR bosses found that 41% admit to only having a "reasonable" grasp of what the term means, and are unsure of how the gap is calculated.

The information comes from a poll of 900 firms employing 250 staff or more, and has been published by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Government Equalities Office (GEO).

 Responding to legal changes

From the start of the 2017 financial year, companies employing more than 250 staff must publish and report their GPG information.

Yet the survey data suggests many employers are struggling with the calculation, with responses suggesting a lack of understanding of how the GPG differs from the definition of equal pay.

Almost a third (31%) of those polled are aware there is a difference between the two terms, but could not articulate separate definitions.

The GPG is the difference in average salaries between men and women across the industry, not just those in the same role, while equal pay is used in reference to salary differences between men and women doing the same work, similar work or work of equal value.

Of those firms who have introduced measures to reduce the GPG or intend to, seven in 10 (71%) say steps taken include changing organisational culture, flexible working and promoting parental leave policies.

 Prioritising closing the gap

A third (33%) of companies say tackling the gap is low urgency or not urgent at all, compared with a quarter (24%) who acknowledge the issue as high priority.

The Government is urging all employers, regardless of size, to publish data on their gender pay gap, but says larger firms may suffer reputational damage if they fail to act.

Guidance from the Government Equalities Office, states: "The Equality and Human Rights Commission has the power to enforce any failure to comply with the regulations

"Employers will also run a reputational risk if they fail to publish the information, and in many cases the suspicions behind why an employer failed to publish their gender pay gap could have a negative impact and be far worse than what would have been shown by the report."

How B P Collins can help

Employment law associate, Hannah King, has been running equality and diversity training sessions for businesses to ensure they comply with regulations. See our HR training offerings and contact Hannah if you need further information on 01753 278659 or email

Hannah King

Hannah King

Tel: 01753 279029

Stay in touch

Phone: +44 (0) 1753 889995


About cookies on our website

Our Site uses cookies to improve your experience of certain areas of the Site and to allow the use of specific functionality, such as social media page sharing. You may delete and block all cookies from this Site, but as a result, parts of the Site may not work as intended.

To find out more about our cookies policy, please visit here.

Click on the button below to accept the use of cookies on this Site (this will prevent the dialogue box from appearing on future visits).