Gender pay gap rife in a quarter of SMEs

News Article

One in four SMEs have admitted there is a gender pay gap within their company. That is according to research from Close Brothers Asset Finance.

The report comes at a time when Government figures reveal that almost 80 per cent of organisations and public sector bodies are still paying their male employees more than their female ones.

The research by Close Brothers Asset Finance showed that the gender pay gap figure for SMEs was consistent throughout UK. The only region bucking the trend – but not in a good way – was London, where 36 per cent of the firms that responded admitted to having a gender pay gap.

The research had some positive aspects however, as it revealed action was being taken to address the imbalance. A policy of equal pay for the same job was in place at 75 per cent of SMEs. Interestingly, industries previously considered male dominated were leading the way on this.

Those that had implemented equal pay policies included:

  • Print – 90 per cent
  • Manufacturing – 77 per cent
  • Transport and haulage – 76 per cent
  • Engineering – 74 per cent
  • Construction – 69 per cent.

Elsewhere, 76 per cent of companies employing 10 or fewer people had an equal pay policy in place.

A somewhat sobering conclusion to the research was that despite polices being implemented, less than half of the respondents thought “real and obvious” progress was being made to narrow the UK’s gender pay gap. This school of thought was particularly widespread among smaller firms.

Lara Murray, a Palmers Associate and employment law expert, said: “It is clear from the number of firms that are putting equal pay policies in place that the message is hitting home.

“Even so, the results of recent reporting and, indeed, the research referenced here, show that more needs to be done to address the gender pay gap. The 25 per cent of SMEs who admit to having a gender pay gap is just too high and should not be at this level in 2018.”

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