Female pound still worth 87.6p but SMEs lead the way in closing gender pay gap

women employee

The female pound is still worth just 87.6p compared to £1 for male employees but the gender pay gap is closing, with the UK’s smaller employers leading the way.

Analysis of data from the Governments Gender Pay Gap Service suggests that smaller employers are doing more to close the gender pay gap than larger companies, with the female pound (the amount that women earn compared to men) worth around 87.6p for women employed by SMEs for every £1 earned by men, compared to 85.31p earned by women working at larger companies.

While the disparity in the female pound is still an area for real concern, the pay gap at the UK’s smaller employers is also closing faster than it is at larger firms. Companies employing between 250 and 499 staff have cut their gender pay gap by 2.35% based on gender pay data submitted so far for 2018, compared to 2017 figures, while companies employing between 5,000 and 19,999 employees have closed their gender pay gap by just 0.41%.

Moorepay’s own data suggests that the female pound across the SME sector could be worth less than is being reported to the Government, but the firm says that smaller businesses are leading the way in closing the pay gap as they compete with larger employers to attract and retain the best talent. This competition has seen many SMEs offer a salary and benefits package that is as good, and often better, than that provided by larger firms.

Michelle Hobson, HR technology & services director at Moorepay, who carried out the analysis, said, “Closing the gender pay gap has to be a priority for companies and the publication of gender pay data is driving firms and their staff to address pay disparity.

“While there is work to do, our analysis suggests that smaller businesses are succeeding in addressing female pay disparity more effectively than many larger employers.

“While this may at first seem counter-intuitive, as we assume larger companies will provide better pay and benefits, the reality is that smaller firms have to compete for the same talent and are often more aware of the value that each staff member brings to their business.

“Many of the SME businesses that we work with are looking to provide a wide range of pay and non-pay benefits in a bid to rival their corporate counterparts.

“They are looking to provide greater flexibility and choice to staff on how they take their remuneration and how they structure packages and pay equality is a key part of that. One thing is for sure – you can’t ignore the data, and its publication is empowering staff to demand action on equality.”