Gender Pay Gap reporting became compulsory almost two years ago and Companies who had over 250 employees, had to start reporting their performance on pay equality. These figures had to be published at the end of every financial year, failing to do so would otherwise result in hefty fines for the firms. These figures portray the overall gap in wages between male and female workers as well as the gap in bonuses and other benefits that they receive. This gender pay gap has also shown that women are economically unstable and more often fall under the “working poor class” category.
A majority of women take an installment loan from direct lender since their wages are lesser than the bills they need to pay and are there only way out. The situation is similar when it comes to financing a college education. Men are better able to finance a college education since they have better wages as compared to women.
What is this “Gender Pay Gap” and why are firms hiding their results?
As the name suggests, Gender Pay Gap is the gap between the average wage of a male and a female worker in any company. If a firm is paying a man some amount for certain work and a lower amount to a woman for the same, that is considered a gender pay gap. If a firm says that they have a 2% gender pay gap, they essentially mean that women working in their firm are earning 2% less every single hour than a male employee. So, in simpler terms, if a male employee is earning £1, a female employee would be earning 98p for the same task. Similarly, if the gender pay gap were in the negative, it would mean that female employees were earning 2% more than male employees per hour.
Since Gender Pay Gap reporting is mandatory, firms have decided to take a simpler route and are playing with their data to paint a rosy picture. The gap is, fundamentally, supposed to be calculated by calculating the mean or the median figures. The mean figures can be found by adding up all the wages of the employees working in the firm and dividing that by the number of employees in the firm. However, this means that the data can be misrepresented if there are even a handful of employees who are paid more than everybody else. The median figures, on the contrary, can be obtained by finding the midpoint of a range of average hourly wages. This method can fairly represent data when there is a lot of disparity in wages.
Last year, over 10,000 companies brought out their reports before the last day. But over 10% of companies decided to publish their reports right on the day of the deadline. A majority of financial experts noted that this ‘late reporting’ was done in order to show the most unfavorable results at the end so that the statistical data is buried amidst the rest. However, the published reports showed that over 70% of firms and businesses were paying their male employees more than their female employees. The largest pay gap was seen in the manufacturing and construction industries, which showed a gender pay gap of 25%. The finance and banking sectors followed it, which had a gap of over 20%. These unamusing results represent the inequality in wages in the UK. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that men are getting paid more than women, however, this does point to the fact that men might be getting paid differently for performing the same task. According to law, it is illegal to pay women and men different wages for similar work.
On the other hand, the food and hospitality sectors showed the most flattering results at 1%. According to surveys, after the reporting done by businesses and firms, there has been an improvement in all sectors. For full-time employees, it has fallen down to 7-8% which is a few percents lower than the previous year. When employees of all sectors in both full-time and part-time categories are considered, the gap has an increment of over 10%. A major reason for this might be the fact that women choose to work part-time which have lower hourly wages.
However, if this data can be counted on as being reliable is another issue. Firms and businesses are required to publish their own data using the guidelines given by the authorities. Funnily enough, a large number of companies even posted results which were mathematically impossible, while showing negative gaps over a hundred percent. To this date, tons of firms and businesses are publishing inaccurate and preposterous figures.
How does this impact Young Women in the UK?
Women, especially those who are in their youth are more often than not, stuck on lower wages than men. They mostly work on zero hour contracts or other part-time jobs, which don’t pay them enough. Since they are not certain about how many hours they’d be working for every month and if they’d even be able to make it till the end of the month without borrowing money.
This is particularly difficult for mothers of newly born babies since they would have to pay babysitters and take care of other childcare needs. This amount tends to be a lot more than the wages they get paid per hour. Due to this, young women are most likely to fall into debt and it becomes harder to get out because of the stagnant wages. According to the latest statistics, over 51% of women need to take easy cheap loan with poor credit just so they can make their ends meet and pay for basic necessities. These loans, therefore, are their only choice. Overall, this truly highlights the impact of rising prices and low wages on women.