Equal Pay Day | Women now working rest of 2021 'for free' - what HR needs to know

Women now working rest of 2021 'for free' - what HR needs to know

Today, November 18, marks the point in the year at which on average, women stop earning money professionally, when compared to the wages of their male counterparts.

The day, known as ‘Equal Pay Day’, takes into account wage disparity based on gender, and essentially shows that women ‘work for free’ from this date until the end of the year, if their wages are compared to those of their male peers.

The equation is calculated annually by The Fawcett Society, and also shows that the pay gap is currently widening from a sliver in younger years, to a significant gap once people hit the age of 40, as reported by the Express.

The current date of November 18 is notably earlier than last year, which the research claims is due to the pandemic’s impact on women, leading to the gender pay gap widening.

This year, the gender pay gap sits at 11.9%, which is an increase from 10.6% last year. The data, which was pulled from the ONS Gender Pay Gap in the UK 2021 report, highlights that younger women are now facing a more significant gender pay gap than in previous years.

“Women will spend almost six weeks this year working for nothing, because on average it takes us all year to make as much money as men make by November 18,” Sarah Coles, Senior Personal Finance Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, told the Express.

“Women pay the price for the gender pay gap with lower financial resilience throughout their lives, and while there are no overnight solutions, we can take steps to protect ourselves,” she added.

Whilst the issue may be widening, firms that fall short of equal pay goals are likely to see the negative ramifications of this in the talent acquisition process. According to the latest findings from Indeed, 48% of girls aged between 16 and 18 would rule out working for an organisation that evidences a gender pay gap against women.

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“If organisations don’t tackle this issue head-on, they will lose out on exceptional talent going forward, further adding to the skills gap the country faces,” Darren Hockley, Managing Director at DeltaNet International, told HR Grapevine.

“In 2021, there should be no reason for all genders not to receive equal pay. If a job needs to be done, there remains no explanation for a disparity in pay, whether that be salaries, bonuses, or promotions. The fact that this still exists highlights that there are still significant advances to be made,” Hockley added.

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