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Pay gender reporting could backfire, says CBI

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Following the announcement that the government is to go ahead with the introduction of the Equality Act, a leading employers’ group has claimed that one aspect of the legislation could have an adverse effect on the number of women in higher paid jobs.

The Equality Act, which is due to consolidate various anti-discrimination laws, will come into effect this October.

While welcoming many aspects of the legislation, the CBI argued that rules requiring mandatory gender pay reporting could “backfire”.

Katja Hall, the CBI’s director of HR policy, said: “The Equality Act should make things clearer and simpler for employers. Bringing nine separate pieces of legislation together in one place should give employers more confidence in addressing diversity in the workplace.”

But Ms Hall went on to say that the government had missed an opportunity by not removing mandatory gender pay reporting from the legislation.

She continued: “Forcing companies to publish average salary figures for men and women could mislead people into thinking that women are paid less than men in the same role, which is rightly illegal, when differences will actually reflect the proportions of men and women in higher-paid jobs.

“The policy is also likely to backfire. Companies that have too few women in higher paid roles, and are trying to attract more, would be forced to publish a statistic that could deter female applicants and compound the problem.”