Why is the Gender Pay Gap important to manufacturing businesses

Tuesday 31st July 2018

From April 2018, the UK became one of the first countries to implement mandatory gender pay gap reporting for companies and public sector employees.

Organisations employing a workforce of more than 250 people are now required to report their gender pay gap. The term ’employees’ within the equality legislation is also given a wider definition to include zero hours workers and apprentices.

On first reading, the results are a little dispiriting with more than three in four companies paying their male employees more than female staff, and in most sectors, men earn on average 10 per cent more than women. But by looking beyond the headline figures, the situation is far more complex.

Problematic reporting

It is already clear that the current reporting system has a number of essential weaknesses. The figures do not show that women are necessarily paid less than men for the same jobs. Instead, they speak of the distribution of roles within an organisation and the relative number of mean as opposed to women in senior positions.

What impact has the gender pay gap had in manufacturing?

Historically, manufacturing is one of the sectors where the gender pay gap is higher than the economy average. But when you look at the figures actually reported by manufacturers to Gender Pay Regulations, the pay gap is in fact closer to economic average. A possible explanation for this is that only larger manufacturers apparently report a wider gender pay gap.

So why this? As a whole, women remain under-represented to all levels of manufacturing, meaning men take all the high paying positions. This occupational segregation has an impact on the gender pay gap which in turn has an impact on the wide pay gap within the economy.

Encouraging a female workforce

The male dominance within the sector is a clear trend, and action within the STEM pipeline has to be taken to encourage more women into manufacturing. According to the manufacturers’ association , EEF, women account for as little as 5 per cent of registered engineers or technicians, whilst only 15 per cent of engineering graduates and 7  per cent of engineering apprentices are female.

These figures are shockingly low, but initiatives such as Bradford Manufacturing Week can help inspire a new generation of female engineers and technicians, and help reduce the sector’s gender pay gap.

Through tackling the issue at an education system level, Bradford Manufacturing Week’s seminars, lectures and workplace learning sessions can help all female students realise that the sector is indeed a lucrative one to work in, and that they can help blaze the trail for women in manufacturing. It’s about taking the first steps to reversing the trend of the gender pay gap.

What else can be done?

All employers can take positive action to improve the situation. Enhanced maternity/shared parental leave, flexible working opportunities, career breaks and returner schemes can all play their part in enabling more women within the workplace and help reduce the gender pay gap in the long run.

Bradford Manufacturing Week

We are proud to be a sponsor of Bradford Manufacturing Week.  #BradfordMW18 is taking place between 8-12 October 2018, this four day event aims  to showcase the district’s manufacturing might and inspire, encourage and educate young people around the opportunities for a fulfilling and rewarding manufacturing career.

To find out more visit www.bradfordmanufacturingweek.co.uk/