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8 ways to understand your organisation’s Gender Pay Gap

New guidance for employers published this week

  • Blog
  • 8th Feb 2019

Many of our interventions – whether text messages or small tweaks to existing letters -are deceptively simple looking. They often seem obvious when viewed in retrospect.

It’s part of our team’s mission to scale successful interventions, sharing lessons and supporting other organisations to put evidence-based solutions in place. But even the simplest of trials relies on months of painstaking data analysis, and that’s before we get to thinking about solutions.

That’s why we’re delighted to publish new guidance for employers that gives them the tools they need to conduct this kind of systematic analysis themselves.  

Developing Tools to Help Employers with People and Process Data

Working with the Government Equalities Office, we have produced a diagnostic tool to help employers to drill down into their people and process data. Last year, the UK government became the first in the world to mandate companies with over 250 employees to publicly report their Gender Pay Gap (GPG) data. This transparency should spur employers to take action to improve their GPG, as customers, employees and shareholders are empowered to ask what companies are doing to close their gap.

Knowing that you have a gender pay gap is very different to knowing what is causing it, and what exactly to do about  it

However, knowing that you have a gender pay gap is very different to knowing what is causing it, and what exactly to do about  it. Two companies may have a very similar GPG, but for entirely different reasons – meaning each company needs to take a different approach to tackle their GPG.

Identify Causes of Gender Pay Gaps

The guidance we have helped produce guides employers through eight key questions to help identify causes of their GPG. We prompt employers to ask:

  1. Are women more likely to be recruited into lower paid roles?
  2. Do particular aspects of pay (such as starting salaries and bonuses) differ by gender?
  3. Do men and women receive different performance scores on average?
  4. Is there gender imbalance in your promotions?
  5. Do people get “stuck” at certain levels within your organisation?
  6. Are you doing all that you can to support part-time employees to progress?
  7. Do men and women leave at different rates?
  8. Are you supporting both men and women in your organisation to take on caring responsibilities?

The guidance supports companies to answer these questions, suggesting useful analyses to carry out. It also helps employers to think about what to do if they find a problem with gender imbalance.

Understanding the precise drivers of their GPG enables companies to effectively target their resources to tackle it. For instance, it might not make sense to actively try to recruit more women if a company actually has a problem retaining women once they are in the business – it might be better off considering how to support existing female employees to prevent them from leaving at higher rates than men. Solutions to support retention of employees could include ensuring that senior positions are offered with flexible working arrangements, so people with caring responsibilities feel like they can progress through the organisation.

Use this Guidance to Understand Your Organisations Gender Pay Gap

We encourage employers to use this guidance as they prepare their GPG data ahead of the 2019 reporting deadline. Employers who identify the issues contributing to their GPG can also use our Actions to Close the Gender Pay Gap guidance, which provides more information to help employers to develop an evidence-based action plan.

We will be updating the Actions to Close the Gender Pay Gap guidance with new evidence emerging from our current field trials with large UK-based employers. In the meantime, take a look at our services to understand our approach and work when carrying out projects like this one.


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