UK firms acknowledge gender pay gap, but claim there’s no discrepancy in their office

UK businesses have a median hourly pay gap of 18.4% between men and women / Wikimedia Commons

UK businesses have a median hourly pay gap of 18.4% between men and women, however while four in five financial decision makers believe there to be disparity up and down the country, just one in five would admit it happens within their own company.

With the government deadline for firms with over 250 staff to admit their own gender pay gaps having just passed today (4 April), YouGov has released data detailing how financial decision makers view the broader numbers.

Of around 500 respondents, 78% said they were in agreement that there was a gender pay gap to the detriment of women across the UK, but only 21% acknowledged that men were, on average, paid better than women within their own business.

62% of financial decision makers, or one in six, did not believe there to be any pay disparity in their own workplace.

The gap between the reality of the situation and the views held by those controlling the purse strings reveals somewhat of a contradiction. YouGov’s director of research Rudy Sooprayen said that many senior figures at UK companies may well be in for a “nasty surprise” after seeing their own firms’ numbers.

Many advertising and media giants have found themselves having to explain a significant lack of gender equality when it comes to pay packets in recent weeks. On the agency side, WPP posted a median pay gap of 14.6% in favour of men, with its J Walter Thomson arm posting a median gap of 44.7%. Denstu Aegis, meanwhile, revealed a 14% gap.

Earlier this year, the BBC revealed its gender pay gap to be 9.3%. The number came amid a fallout from a separate list published earlier in the year which detailed the salaries of its highest earners, prompting criticism over gender disparity and the resignation of China editor Carrie Grace from that position.

At 24.2%, Channel 4’s gap is above the national average, while ITV’s clocked in at 18.4% exactly.

YouGov's research found that while the UK businesses as a whole appeared to be in denial of any gaps in their own companies, financial decision makers based out of London were better aware. In the capital, 42% said they thought there was a gender pay gap in their organisation, versus the 44% who believed there wasn't one.

Companies who have failed to submit their gender pay gap figures now that the deadline is over could face legal action and an unlimited fine.

According to YouGov, 63% of execs were aware of the pay gap report legislation, but a significant 37% were not.

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