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Issue:- Saturday, 05 September 2015

90% of firms face a standing start on gender pay gap reporting

THE Government is currently consulting on imminent new gender pay gap reporting requirements. But, a new survey out shows that less than 1 in 10 firms (9%) currently report any gender pay information and providing data is going to be a significant challenge:-

83% of firms are aware of Government proposals on gender pay gap reporting, but less than 1 in 10 (7%) are up to speed in their understanding.

Less than 3 in 10 companies (29%) are prepared for the forthcoming requirements and 30% are concerned about the amount of work required to provide the data.

 Challenges; only a of firms (33%) have undertaken a pay audit in the last 5 years; 27% have never undertaken 1 while 45% of firms don't have an official pay scale.

Opportunity; 47% see gender pay reporting as an opportunity to benchmark against peers and other industries; 38% say that it will help them get to grips with their pay structures and auditing.

Context, support and a phased roll-out will be key to minimising challenges and maximising opportunities, says EEF.

 A new survey out today by EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, reveals that 90% of manufacturing and engineering firms face a standing start when it comes to forthcoming gender pay reporting requirements. Less than 1 in 10 (9%) currently report any gender pay information, while many others do not have the right systems in place to provide accurate and robust pay data. But despite the significant challenges, firms see the forthcoming reporting requirements as an opportunity to improve their systems and to benchmark themselves.

The Government is currently consulting on the new gender pay gap reporting requirements. The survey findings reveal high awareness of the forthcoming requirements (83%), but low understanding (7%) and little preparedness (29%). 3 in 10 firms (30%) are concerned about the amount of work that will be required to provide gender pay gap data.

However, firms will need to contend with significant gaps in their current pay systems and processes and are in danger of underestimating the challenges to be overcome in order to provide meaningful and robust data. Only a (33%) have undertaken a pay audit in the last 5 years; over a quarter of companies (27%) have never undertaken one.  Similarly, 34% haven't undertaken any work to define pay and job roles, while 35% don't have any measurement systems in place for various pay grades (35%). 4 in 10 firms (39%) don't undertake regular job evaluations.

Many firms (45%) don't have an official pay scale; pay is determined individually and case by case. Other challenges include having a complex pay structure (29%) and TUPE arrangements (22%). Some firms (15%) don't even have a central pay system.

In fact, just 2 in 10 firms (18%) have open and transparent pay scales determined by job evaluation, putting them in a good place to meet any gender pay gap reporting requirements. Despite this, 67% of firms are confident of being able to provide robust and accurate gender pay data and 65% expect that providing the data will be easy. This suggests that firms may be underestimating what may be required of them, or overestimating their ability to extract and provide data.

This danger aside, it is also clear that firms already recognise a real opportunity in gender pay gap reporting. Just under ½ (47%) say it is a great opportunity to benchmark themselves against peers and other industries, while 38% say that the work they will need to undertake to provide the data will help them to get to grips with their pay structure and auditing. Over a ¼ (26%) say that gender pay gap reporting will provide the impetus they need to overhaul their pay structure and to establish better processes.

At the same time, however, 68% of the companies surveyed say that women make up 30% or less of their workforce and there is recognition that this could cause a problem when reporting. A (32%) agree that industries struggling to attract women into skilled roles are likely to have a wider gender pay gap. This means that context must be provided when the data is published and that every effort is made to ensure that gender pay gap reporting doesn't make it even harder to attract skilled women into industries where they are currently under represented.

Tim Thomas, Head of Employment Policy and Skills at EEF, says:- "The good news is that many firms recognise gender pay gap reporting requirements as an opportunity to improve their systems and to benchmark themselves against peers and other industries. The bad news is that, if asked for the data today, it's clear that the majority of manufacturing and engineering firms would struggle to provide it. Not only are there significant gaps in many firms' pay processes and systems that will make providing accurate and robust information a real challenge, but there is also a real concern that gender pay gap reporting could reflect poorly on industries with low numbers of skilled female workers. It's critical that the data requirements aren't allowed to undermine the huge efforts being made to attract women into skilled roles in industries where they are currently under represented. If we are to avoid the pitfalls then providing context to published gender pay gap data, support for businesses being asked to provide the data and a phased roll out will be key."

The Atkinson Welcomes Dr Feelgood

THE Legendary rockers Dr Feelgood are set to perform at The Atkinson, in Southport, this September. The 1970s pub rock outfit, which had a top 10 hit single with Milk and Alcohol in 1979, are set to perform at The Atkinson on Thursday, 24 September 2015. Still 1 of the most popular and exciting live rhythm and blues acts in the world. The raw and uncompromising style of their performance resulted in the album Stupidity that immediately went to the number one position in the U.K. charts. Formed on Canvey Island in Essex in the early 1970s, Dr. Feelgood have also enjoyed global success with a string of hit singles Roxette, Back in the Night, Down at the Doctors, She Does it Right, Going Back Home and See You Later Alligator; which gave the group their 1st gold record. The current line up features the rhythm section Kevin Morris on drums and Phil Mitchell on bass, both 29 years in the band and Steve Walwyn on guitar who has been with the band for 23 years. Vocalist Robert Kane (formerly of the Animals) is the most recent addition; joining in 1999 after the tragic death of Lee Brilleaux. The band continues to tour extensively throughout the World and enjoy a loyal following at home and abroad. See Dr Feelgood at The Atkinson on Thursday, 24 September 2015, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 and are available online or by calling the Box Office on:- 01704 533333. They are also available over the counter during The Atkinson opening hours.

* Please be advised that there is a booking fee of £1 per ticket online/ phone sales and 50p over the counter.

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