Research and analysis

Employers’ Understanding of the Gender Pay Gap and Actions to tackle it - a research report 2017

This research looks at how employers understand the gender pay gap and what actions they are taking to close it.



The Government Equalities Office (GEO) introduced gender pay gap (GPG) transparency regulations which are designed to encourage large employers to take informed action to close their GPG where one exists. These regulations came into force in April 2017 and affect around 10,000 employers across the private, voluntary and public sectors in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) commissioned OMB Research to develop a robust research programme to provide a baseline measure of large employers’ understanding of the GPG and the transparency regulations, and understand the actions they are taking to close their GPG.

The primary aims of the research were:

  • to provide insight on employers’ understanding of the GPG, including current levels of awareness of the GPG, understanding of the transparency regulations, ability to interpret GPG statistics and understanding of the factors that influence their GPG
  • to understand how employers are planning to comply with the regulations, including when they plan to publish their statistics and what support employers think they need to be compliant
  • to gather detail on the actions employers are planning or taking to address their GPG and employers’ experiences of taking action
  • to understand the perceived barriers to taking action

The core elements of this research took place between March and May 2017, so coincided with the introduction of the new GPG transparency regulations.

The survey covered large employers’ understanding of the GPG, their experiences of complying with the regulations, and the actions they were taking to close their GPG (or ensure one did not develop).

This research consisted of a telephone survey of 900 large employers (with 250+ staff), and 30 follow-up qualitative interviews to explore the key issues in more detail. It took place between March and May 2017.

Published 31 January 2019