In response to the new gender pay gap online tool launched by the Government and the Office for National Statistics, Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments: “These regulations are a positive steps towards greater transparency and will ensure organisations will generate the data needed to shine a light on gender pay gaps where they exist. “Just as important as the data will be the analysis of the numbers and the action taken by employers to address any pay gaps. Employers need to understand the reasons behind any gender pay differences, which could be the result of a complex mix of factors, including a lack of flexible working opportunities, how different jobs are valued, the ability of different sectors or occupations to attract women, or conscious or unconscious bias in how women are recruited and promoted. They then need to consider what type of people practices and workforce strategies are needed to address these problems, particularly to help women balance care responsibilities and progress their careers. These might include, for example, improving the range of flexible working opportunities available to employees – including senior level posts, developing more diverse recruitment practices and inclusive cultures, greater use of mentoring or enhancing childcare packages.”

CIPD research published earlier this year shows that employers will need significant support to be ready for the implementation of the gender pay gap regulations in April 2017. The survey of 1,000 UK employers found that just 28% of employers overall and 34% at larger organisations (those with 250 or more employees) said their organisation conducted any analysis of the pay of men and women. Among those that didn’t analyse gender pay differentials, only 7% of large organisations said they planned to conduct any analysis of the pay of men and women in the next 12 months, with 47% saying they were not and 46% responding that they did not know.