Hazel James: Will this month’s Equality Act make a difference to equal pay?

I would love to think that publishing pay details will have a positive impact on the gender pay gap, but I am afraid that as the Equality Act stands, the effect will probably be limited.

Gathering, analysing and benchmarking information on pay is always a valid and valuable task, and something all good employers do regularly. Best practice dictates employers should have fair and transparent pay policies and processes, ensuring all staff receive fair recompense for the same work. It is common sense, particularly when employers fight hard to attract and retain talent.

But the reality is that broad-brush statistics can be blunt tools. In particular, they do not compare men and women doing the same job or working at the same level. Nor are they necessarily a true reflection of actual pay for men and women, in that they may not take into consideration varying contractual hours.

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Organisations should be looking at a number of things, including career development, succession planning and flexible working arrangements (which support both men and women) alongside the pay data.

In Adecco, we recognise the value everyone brings to the business. With more women than men in the business and women represented right up to the top of the organisation, we believe we are on the right track, but we are by no means complacent.

While recognising the objective is to bring the issue of gender pay equality to the fore by encouraging the publication of pay details, it remains to be seen whether the Act in itself will lead to a sea change in attitudes and behaviour.

Hazel James, head of compensation and benefits at Adecco Group UK and Ireland