February 8, 2017

Is it still a man’s world in the workplace?

In a country where women hold the two top positions within the offices of state – the Queen and the Prime Minister – is the workplace still a man’s world?

New research completed by the Women at Work Index shows that the UK is missing out on approximately £170 billion of economic benefits by not having enough women in employment.

Additionally, the World Economic Forum stated:

It will be 118 years before women have the same career prospects as men. No country in the world has closed its gender gap.

Yet research completed by a Great Place to Work® paints a very different picture, so is the reality a much more gender-balanced world?

What do the statistics say on the gender gap?

The vast majority – 87% of women and 91% of men – think there is no gender discrimination in their workplace.

Yet the number of women in executive positions decreases the more senior the role. Only 29% of executive/senior management roles are held by women.

The research from Great Place to Work found no evidence to support the argument that women lose out on senior roles because they leave employment to raise a family. Men and women had similar overall lengths of service, after accounting for any maternity provisions.

Another notion to be flipped on it’s head is the idea that women in senior roles are aware of the pay gap and are actively working to change it. The research shows that in fact the more senior the position, the more likely women are to agree that their pay is fair.

When comparing full-time roles men in the UK tend to work longer hours than women. Depending on the age bracket and percentile of hours worked, men in full-time employment work between 1.35% and 17.94% more hours than women in full-time employment.

Comparatively, in part-time roles women out-earn men by 6.5% (2015 figures, up from 5.5% in 2014).

What is the impact of these statistics in the workplace?

Well, if you were to believe what you are being told, the UK workforce is missing out on revenue potential by not employing enough women, especially women to senior positions.

The Women at Work Index puts the bill for the under-utilisation of women in the workplace at £170bn to UK economy.

Why would the UK do itself such an injustice?

Despite women being less satisfied by gender fairness at work, the research generally found that women seem to be accepting of the situation.

But there are signs that balance is changing.

A 2015 study compiled by the Press Association based on data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that women in their 20s were out-earning men in their 20s by an average of £1,111, suggesting a reversal of trends.

However, the same study showed that men in their 30s out-earned women in their 30s by an average of £8,775.

So whether this is a change coming from so-called ‘millenials’ within the workplace, or whether this reversal becomes a demograhic trend, remains to be seen.

The study did not attempt to explain the causes of the gender gap, but perhaps the mandatory gender pay gap reporting requirements (publishing the pay and bonus figures between men and women for firms with 250+ employees) starting in April 2018 will cast some light on the subject and/or reinforce trends by exposing the reality of the gender gap more widely.

For more assistance or advice on implementing manadatory gender pay gap reporting contact the Moorepay employment law team to discuss your particular concerns or queries – contact the team or call 0845 619 1743.

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About the author

Stephen Johnson

Stephen has over 25 years experience in private sector HR and management roles, working as a Manager for over 10 years and eventually moving into the financial services industry. In his current role as an HR Policy Review Consultant he develops, reviews and maintains our clients’ employment documentation. With extensive knowledge of management initiatives and HR disciplines Stephen is commercially focused and supports clients in delivering their business objectives whilst minimising the risk of litigation.