A BBC analysis found that in four in 10 companies the pay gap between the middle-earning woman and the middle-earning man had significantly increased.
This does not mean pay between a woman and man doing the same job is different, but that men are more likely to be employed in higher paid jobs.
Women will be wondering what is going on, but the reality is this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Sam Smethers, CEO of The Fawcett Society
Initial Findings Are “Worrying”
Campaigners have said the increasing gap is concerning and more needs to be done to implement change.
“Within the UK alone, the gender pay gap is set to be closed in approximately 55 years; an abysmal reality that perfectly describes the UK professional arena’s ability to invoke social change,” Hephzi Pemberton, founder of Equality Group, a company which implements diversity in businesses, told RightsInfo.
“Why, with so much focus and the requirement for businesses to improve their gender equality, are we almost a year on and seeing the gender pay gap widen?” she added.
What Does The Data Say?
Why are we almost a year on and seeing the gender pay gap widen?
Hephzi Pemberton, Founder of Equality Group
Private companies, charities and public sector departments which employ 250 or more people are legally required to publish data on their pay.
The analysed data looked at the 1,146 companies which had submitted their pay data so far. This is just 10 per cent of the companies that are legally required to publish data on their pay before March 31.
So far the data shows that the overall reported gap is 8.4 per cent, which is down from 9.7 per cent last year.
But in big companies like Virgin Atlantic, the gap grew from 28.4 per cent to 31 per cent.
Kwik Fit, who reported a pay gap in favour of women last year, went from minus 15.2 per cent to a 14 per cent gap in favour of men – a change that the company pinned on a number of senior female staff leaving.
It Isn’t Game Over For The Gap
Campaigners are hopeful that the increase does not signify a lack of desire to create better equality in the workplace.
Sam Smethers, the chief executive of the equality campaign group the Fawcett Society, told RightsInfo that more needs to be done to hold companies accountable and improve the pay gap.
“Women will be wondering what is going on, but the reality is this is a marathon, not a sprint,” Smethers said.
“It will take a five-year strategy with a focused action plan to produce results, combined with a tougher reporting regime.
“We also need to address all the causes of the pay gap, provide real transparency with pay data so that women can challenge pay discrimination; more generous leave for dads that they can afford to take and to make every job a flexible working job, unless there is a business reason not to,” she added.