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COVID impacts gender pay

New reporting arrangements

  • Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the UK’s Government Equalities Office (GEO) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines for 2019/20, meaning there was no expectation on employers to report their data last year.
  • The usual deadline for 2021 reporting is now upon us, but with the impact of the pandemic ongoing, employers have an additional six months – until 5 October 2021 – to report their gender pay gap information this year.

Other impacts of COVID

  • Unfortunately, the impact of COVID is expected to worsen the gender diversity landscape – with women across all industries expected to be more likely to face redundancy or experience changes to roles or hours.
  • It has been reported that 17-year-old women were most likely to be furloughed, which isn’t great news for women making the first steps in their careers. The exclusion of furlough workers from the gender pay gap reporting will affect company pay gap results too, and whether positive or negative will take careful explaining in the supporting narrative.
  • However, there are also plenty of opportunities to capitalise on the newly established flexible and home working arrangements that were previously considered impossible or impractical (but have been proven to work for so many of us). A more results-driven culture has reigned, with less onus on simply being seen to be present. The improved work life balance arising – benefitting both men and women – should drive new career opportunities for women that may not otherwise have been feasible.

Results in maritime

  • The UK has one of the largest gender pay gaps in Europe, and Spinnaker analysis reveals the maritime industry has one of the highest gaps in the country. 
  • The benefits of diversity come from employing women at all levels of the hierarchy and across all job functions, and this is where the industry challenges lie. Maritime HR Association data reveals 95% of all admin roles are occupied by women, compared to just 5% of executive leadership team roles. The job families where women are less well represented are those that drive higher market salaries too; for example technical & marine, chartering & freight trading and shipbroking.
  • These factors drive the gender pay gap –a mean average male salary of £67,000 in the UK compared to £38,500 for females, generating a pay gap of more than 40%. The bonus gap is greater still, and while the number of bonus payments was down across the board in 2020, women remain less likely to receive any sort of bonus pay at all.

Next steps

  • Spinnaker will continue to use its Maritime HR Association data to review the industry pay gap, compare this to UK overall (once available), increase awareness globally and promote diversity and inclusion best practice.  

If you want to find out more, please get in touch with Spinnaker’s Sarah Hutley at shutley@spinnaker-global.com.

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