The gender pay gap is a persistent issue in most businesses in the UK. The gap negatively impacts the majority of female graduates from the moment they begin their first job after graduation. Female graduates earn considerably less than their male counterparts. This leaves female students predisposed to being paid less. The difference in pay between male and female graduates gradually increases over the years, with the sum becoming larger each year. The gap not only effects graduates but all of the UK's female employees with women being paid less than men in a lot of businesses.
In 2018 alone, news reports by the BBC claimed figures demonstrated that female graduates earn £1600 less a year than male graduates after completing their degree. The gap increases to around a £2500 difference between men and women within three years, and roughly £8000 after ten years. This creates an unfair advantage for men, as women with the same qualifications are paid less. Statistics alone show that the female graduates earn around 8.9 per cent less than male graduates. In quite a few instances this insinuates that female graduates are held back because of their gender.
In the annual government gender pay gap reports, some companies appear to be striving to close the difference between male and female employees’ pay. However, the gap still persists, leaving prospective and current female employees faced with this problem. The Equal Pay Act set in place in 1970 stated that the United Kingdom prohibited any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment. Despite this, the law is not enforced 100 per cent of the time, leaving women at a disadvantage.
On April 5 every year businesses with 250 employees or more are legally required to publish their gender pay gap report. HSBC Bank plc employs over 20 000 people; in 2018, their gender pay gap report showed that women’s mean hourly pay was 59 per cent lower than men’s and their median hourly rate was 29 per cent lower than men’s. This shows the gender pay gap between female and male employees has increased between 2017 and 2018 with the mean and hourly rate both increasing.
Although not substantial, this highlights the increasing problem of the gender pay gap as corporations such as HSBC are not closing the gap. Female employees dominate the lower quartile with 70 per cent in the group being female, while men dominate the top quartile making up 67 per cent of the group. The further highlights the difference in pay between male and female employees, as females are excluded from higher paid positions.
In a previous article written by Nouse on the gender pay gap at York University, it was stated that
statistically, the mean gender pay gap was just over 19 per cent. This is just over 5 per cent higher than the national average. It highlights the problem of the gender pay gap which affects the majority of female employees in the nucleus of the University. The mean pay of female employees in substantially lower than their male colleagues, with the highest paid quartile being dominated by men, with men making up 62 percent of the quartile. What’s more, male staff receive more bonuses than female staff. This leaves pay inequality as a problematic issue for both the University’s female graduates and female employees. It poses the question: is the University actually trying to tackle the issue of closing the gender pay gap between their male and female employees?
Overall, the 2018 government data shows that 50 per cent of businesses have improved their gender pay gap, leaving the other 50 per cent increasingly in favour of male employees. Although employers are making a conscious effort to close the gap, the pay gap reports being published this April will determine whether the gap has become bigger or smaller between large corporations, and whether more should be done to counter the problem.