Less than a third (32%) of female employee respondents believe they are paid the same as their male counterparts for equal work, according to research by law firm Simpson Millar.
Its research, which surveyed 1,000 employees, also found that a third (33%) of respondents are prepared to launch equal pay claims should they discover they earned less than a colleague of the opposite sex in the same job. This figure rose to 37% among the 45-54 age group.
The survey also revealed:
- 48% of respondents would ask for a pay rise if they found out they earned less than a colleague of the opposite sex in the same job, 9% would do nothing and 5% would resign.
- Just over a quarter (28%) believe that men and women are paid the same for equal work in their place of work.
- Around half (48%) of male respondents believe men and women are paid the same for equal work in their place of work compared to around a third (32%) of female respondents.
- 48% of respondents in the North East believe that male and female employees are paid the same for equal work in their organisation, compared to 43% in London, 41% in Wales, 40% in the North West, South East and South West, 39% in the West Midlands, 38% in Yorkshire and Humber, 35% in the East Midlands and 28% in East Anglia.
Linda Stewart, head of employment law at Simpson Millar, said: “There is still a wide gender pay gap in Britain and bringing women’s salaries in line with men’s for equal work will take years, if not decades. But one thing is for certain; requests for pay adjustments are likely to increase once workers, and women in particular, realise their pay falls short of that received by their male colleagues for equal work.
“Employers have so far been very successful in instilling a culture of pay secrecy in the workplace, which has enabled the gender pay gap to remain unaddressed for decades. I am hoping the new requirement for employers to publish their gender pay gap will be a positive move toward rectifying that situation.
“It’s not enough to show that you are paid less than a male colleague in a comparable role; you must also satisfy a tribunal that the difference in pay is tainted by gender rather than some other material factor.
“The knowledge that a full and transparent review is being carried out with a view to correcting the situation will reassure many employees who might otherwise decide to launch an equal pay claim. [Employers which] conduct early evaluation programmes will no doubt face fewer claims.
“Employers should be transparent about what they pay staff and individual employees ought to be free to ask what named colleagues earn, and what someone in their role previously was paid. Only with 100% transparency and accountability can we close the gender pay gap for good.”