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Moving from numbers to action: Equality body reviews the impact of gender pay gap reporting

Equality and Human Rights Commission

2 min read Partner content

Equality body calls for employers to play their part in tackling the gender pay gap by publishing their action plans.

Transparency of data has been an important first step in addressing and tackling the gender pay gap. Currently the publication of action plans is not mandatory, however the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has said it is essential that these plans are published if a business wants to demonstrate a real commitment to reducing the gap.

The EHRC has carried out an analysis of employers’ gender pay gap action plans to understand what they are doing to drive meaningful change and tackle inequalities facing women in the workplace.

Key findings include:

  • Only one in five employers sampled have produced an action plan to close the gender pay gap.
  • Only 11% had set themselves targets that would enable them to measure progress of their plans year on year.
  • Larger employers were more likely than smaller ones to set themselves targets, as employers with fewer than 499 staff were less likely to publish an action plan as part of their gender pay gap figures than larger ones.

The report also makes several recommendations for what to include in a good action plan, such as:

  • Anonymising CVs and application forms.
  • Transparent recruitment and promotion procedures.
  • Advertising all jobs as open to flexible working from day one.
  • Actively promoting Shared Parental Leave to staff.
  • Developing short apprenticeship programmes.
  • Providing opportunities for mentorship schemes.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

“Earlier this year gender pay gap reporting shone a light on some of the issues women face when accessing, progressing and staying within the workplace. As we head towards the second year of reporting, the attention now needs to shift towards employers who must play their part in reducing the gap, starting with publicly setting out how they intend to address it in their organisation.

“Specific and time bound action plans can do more than just identify the barriers holding women back in the workplace, they can help to create an environment where female employees can flourish, as well as demonstrate to employees, customers and shareholders a commitment to improving working practices, and can enhance the organisation’s reputation.  

“As the body responsible for enforcing the gender pay gap regulations, we’d like to see them go further and are calling for the government to make the publication of action plans mandatory, so that reporting can drive meaningful change.”


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Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

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