With the deadline approaching for large employers to publish their gender pay gap figures, two thirds of organisations are yet to do so.

The gender pay gap is distinct from the concept of equal pay. Equal pay, which is a legal requirement, is concerned with men and women earning equal pay for the same, or similar, work. The gender pay gap is about the difference between men and women’s average pay within an organisation. Whilst having a gender pay gap is not unlawful, the new rules have been brought in to highlight this imbalance, the aim being to enable employers to consider the reasons for any inequality within their organisation and to take steps to address it. 

Figures published so far suggest that for every £1 earned by a woman, a man earns £1.20. This tends to be because there are fewer women in senior high earning positions in organisations than men. Whilst a workforce may be predominantly female, if the most senior positions are taken up by men, the average pay of women in that organisation could well be lower. 

Steps that organisations could look at taking are adopting flexible working policies, actively encouraging women to apply for senior roles, establishing working groups to consider why there is a gender pay gap, and rolling out diversity training to minimise the risk of discrimination and unconscious bias. Time will tell whether organisations are committed to reducing or eliminating their gender pay gap, and the focus of attention will be on next year's reports, to determine which organisations have committed to taking successful action.