Press release

Government announces £2 million fund to help close gender pay gap

The fund will help women move from low paid, low skilled work to high paid, high skilled work to help tackle the gender pay gap.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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More women are employed than at any other point in history, the gender pay gap is narrowing and for full-time workers under 40 it has almost vanished entirely. But there are still significant pay gaps among part-time and older workers, and it is well known that women are concentrated in less well-paid professions than men.

The government is absolutely committed to reducing the pay gap further. The £2 million announced today will fund a training and mentoring programme of events for women, including those working part-time and older workers, to be carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. It will target women working in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), retail and hospitality management and agricultural sectors.

It is part of a package of measures announced today that will also help employers to quickly analyse their pay gap, and empower women to tackle their employers if they are not being paid correctly.

The government will also:

  • publish guidance to help women compare their pay to their male counterparts
  • invest £50,000 in further advice to enable female employees to hold their companies to account if they think they are not being paid correctly
  • launch free pay analysis software to be made available to all companies to calculate at their gender pay gap
  • implement further measures to strengthen the existing Think, Act, Report initiative

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said:

More women are employed than ever before, contributing to the economy and supporting their families, and the gender pay gap is narrowing. However, we can’t be complacent and there’s more to be done to put women on a level pegging with men.

The measures we’re announcing today will help to tackle the pay gap head-on. We will support women to move out of low paid, low skilled work, into high paid, high skilled work, through providing better training and mentoring. We will also give both women and employers the tools to assess and address unfair pay.

Minister for Women and Equalities and Business Jo Swinson said:

Addressing the gender pay gap is vital if we are to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.

I’m delighted that we are introducing measures to help companies look more closely at how they pay their male and female staff.

We must use all avenues possible to tackle the gender pay gap, and I look forward to seeing these new initiatives put into practice by businesses. Companies must take action and be sure they are rewarding their staff fairly rather than waiting for their female staff to complain.

All employees should have access to information on pay and be able to challenge their employers when they are being treated unfairly. The new guidance ‘The gender pay gap matters’ published today, will help women to compare their salaries with their colleagues, supporting them to take on their bosses if they are being paid less than their male counterparts.

The £50,000 package of further advice will enable women to identify pay gaps in their company and give them the confidence to engage their employers in addressing these.

The free pay analysis tool will be available for all UK companies from next year. It will enable companies to calculate their gender pay gap and identify issues that may be preventing women from rising up in companies.

The government is also strengthening the Think, Act, Report initiative, launched in 2011 to encourage companies to use new tools and guidance to collect and publish data on 3 specific issues:

  • female representation at different levels within the company
  • the company’s overall gender pay gap
  • the gender pay gap broken down by grade and job type

A report published today by the government, Think, Act, Report - Mending the Gap, shows that over the last 3 years, 260 companies, with a combined total of 2.5 million employees have signed up, including Marks & Spencer, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, and Glaxo SmithKline.

Further statistics published by Cranfield School of Management today also show that the number of women on the FTSE 100 boards has reached 22.8% - showing the government is well on course to meet its target set by Lord Davies of 25% in 12 months’ time. Since the Lord Davies report began in 2011, the percentage of women on boards in the FTSE 100 has increased by 82% and in the FTSE 250 by 124%.

Notes to editors

  1. Read further information on Think, Act, Report.
  2. Read ‘The gender pay gap matters’.
  3. The gender pay gap is narrowing - the overall gap for all workers was 25% 10 years ago and now stands at 19.7%. For full-time workers under 40, it has been virtually eliminated. Read ‘Secondary analysis of the gender pay gap’ for further information.
  4. The gender pay gap has 3 main causes:
    * women are concentrated in less well paid professions than men * women get less far up the ladder in those professions - especially after career breaks * women are sometimes less well paid when they are in similar positions to men
  5. Further information on the Cranfield report is available from Marie McCormack 01234 754425,

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Published 5 November 2014