30 May 2019

Three challenges employers face with gender pay gap reporting – and how to solve them

HR expert Kerri Constable, from RSM UK, discussed the most common gender pay gap reporting problems in a recent Ciphr webinar


Cathryn Newbery

Cathryn Newbery

Cathryn Newbery is head of content and community at Ciphr. She was previously deputy editor at People Management magazine. You can find her on Twitter @c_newbery.


Corporate governance Diversity and inclusion Pay benefits and reward


HR expert Kerri Constable, from RSM UK, discussed the most common gender pay gap reporting problems in a recent Ciphr webinar

Two years on from the first mandatory gender pay gap reporting round, UK organisations are still grappling with the challenge of reporting their gender pay gaps accurately and on time.

In a recent Ciphr webinar, Kerri Constable, associate director at RSM UK, explained the challenges that employers faced in analysing their pay gaps, and offered advice on how to make the reporting process more efficient and accurate.


Challenge 1: determining whose responsibility it is to compile reports

“It’s quite a large administrative burden, and you need a very good understanding of your payroll, and the makeup of your payroll, to compile the report. You will need to liaise with many difference parts of your own organisation, plus your outsourcing partners – such as your payroll bureau – to complete the report.

“Understandably, we have come across some reluctance to take responsibility: is it a task for finance, HR or payroll teams?”

Solution: Be clear about which team and which member/s of staff are responsible for the report, and give them plenty of time and support to help them complete it. “For a lot of people, it’s a new task, thrust upon them, that’s outside their usual role. So it can take much longer to finish it than they expect.”

Challenge 2: accuracy

“Accuracy is a big challenge for employers who have to report their gender pay gaps. It’s been estimated that up to 15% of reports submitted to the government contain errors.”

Solution: First, you need to ensure that the quality of your pay and job data is up to scratch. Make sure the information in your HR and payroll systems is accurate and match. If these two systems aren’t already integrated, you’ll probably want to connect them so they are always in sync. Once your data is correct, you can work on compiling the report. Be sure to start well ahead of time, just in case you need to run the report more than once. Using an HR system with specific gender pay gap reporting functionality – such as Ciphr – can greatly speed up this part of the process, but you’ll always want a human (or two) to check the data manually as well. You might also want to employ the services of specialist HR consultants to help check and confirm your report is spot on.

Challenge 3: falling foul of the government requirements

You must make sure that you comply with the relevant requirements for your organisation. This means reporting on seven specific elements of gender pay, including bonus payments, for staff employed by your organisation on the snapshot date. Common hurdles include whether or not to count overtime pay in the calculations (you shouldn’t), if non-executive directors are included (if they are on your payroll, then yes) and if agency workers should be included in your report (generally speaking, they shouldn’t, because they should be part of the agency’s report).

Make sure your report is in the correct format, and loaded onto the government portal before the snapshot date. One of the most common pitfalls, said Constable, is failing or forgetting to make your gender pay gap report available on your organisation’s website – so don’t miss out this important final step.

Solution: Educate yourself on the reporting requirements, and make your own checklist so are confident that you have completed each necessary step. If you need additional help, consult your HR system provider, payroll provider, or an external HR consultant with specific gender pay gap reporting expertise.


Want more information about the lessons learned from gender pay gap reporting, and how pay gap reporting requirements might evolve in the future? Watch our webinar (below), now.