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  • Report
  • 21st Jun 2018

Presenting gender pay gap figures to the public: an online randomised controlled trial

Research report

In 2017 the UK government became the first in the world to require companies with over 250 employees to publicly report their annual GPG figures. But for this reporting to effectively hold companies to account, the information needs to be presented in a clear and meaningful way. 

We worked with GEO to test alternative ways of presenting GPG figures to affect comprehension and public attitudes; we wanted the public to be able to distinguish between companies with a large GPG and those with a small GPG. 

We ran an online randomised controlled trial using BIT’s Predictiv platform. We tested four different ways of presenting GPG figures, including charts and illustrations, against simply presenting them as percentages. 

We found that using an illustration of coins was the most effective way of presenting information: people rated companies with low GPGs more positively than those with higher GPGs. 

Trial participants also understood the meaning of GPG figures better when information was presented in monetary terms. GEO has updated their online viewing service in response to our findings.

This piece of work was part of the Gender & Behavioural Insights Programme, funded by The Government Equalities Office. Read more of the programme’s insights for equality here.

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