On June 5th 2019, I had the privilege of being able to talk to the Treasury Select Committee about the “Effectiveness of Gender Pay Gap Reporting“. My name was put forward by the Royal Statistical Society and we spent an hour discussing a number of issues with a particular focus on the Finance sector.
Welcome to my next case study where I look at the pay gap figures of Unilever Ltd. Unilever turn out to be a very interesting case study for analysing year on year changes in their published statistics. In this case I will be looking at the changes between 2017 and 2018 for the two Unilever business units that have submitted GPG data which are:-
Clicking on those links will take you to the government’s gender pay gap website where you can see their published figures. For this post, I will be using my own spreadsheet which you can download for yourselves here.
With the publication of the 2018 gender pay gap data, many people want to know if the UK has made progress on closing its gender pay gap. The short answer is there was no change in 2018 from 2017.
April 2019 is bang in the middle of gender pay gap season as everyone digests the 2018 snapshot data uploaded by over 10,500 organisations in the UK employing more than 250 employees. Due to my work on pay gaps, I am being asked a number of questions and what is gender pay gap data and how it can be interpreted. As more questions come in, I will update this post so please bookmark this for future reference and follow me on Twitter for alerts as to when this has happened.
The government requires all organisations employing 250 or more employees to submit gender pay gap data. The latest set of submissions are supposed to be uploaded by 31st March 2019 but these figures refer to pay made in April 2018 i.e. a year ago. From the end of April 2019, organisations can submit their 2019 data and not wait for the deadline of March 2020. All data is available to the public and can be found on the government’s gender pay gap website. I have downloaded this data and created a spreadsheet tool to present the data in a more user-friendly and visual format.
If you are responsible for uploading your gender pay gap figures to the government’s portal, you may want to be sure that your figures are correct. I have analysed the 2017 data and I have identified that between 10-20% of organisations have submitted incorrect data. In most cases, this is because the existing government guidance for your calculations is poorly written and is open to misinterpretation.
Until the government rewrites its guidance to make it easier to understand, why not download my free spreadsheet which will do all the calculations for you?
This is intended to be a briefing note for anyone interested in seeing gender pay gap data being used properly. Gender pay gap data is now part is the business and political discourse in the UK and is likely to be so for some time. If the goal of gender pay gap reporting is to remove disparities in pay between men and women, then it is essential that the public has confidence in both the quality of the data being published and the correctness of any interpretations of the results. With the first round of data reporting out of the way, it is time to learn lessons, identify improvements and see that these are implemented. Following extensive analysis of the 2017 round of results, I have identified 12 ways to improve the quality of the data being reported and make interpretations of the results more meaningful.
The UK is facing the challenge of interpreting the first round of gender pay gap data and I listed some of the challenges in my article “the 7 ways to misuse gender pay gap data“. In statement 4 of that post, I stated that a lack of understanding of the laws of chance will result in unjustified allegations of gender discrimination against some organisations and so in this article, I want to demonstrate the laws of chance using nothing more than some dice and coins, a process known as simulation. My simulation model is simple enough for you to repeat by yourselves and at the end, you will have a better idea of the extent to which median gender pay gaps can vary even when organisations do not discriminate in any shape or form.
The first round of gender pay gap data is now available for all organisations employing more than 250 employees. The UK now faces the challenge of interpreting this data and using it properly which will not be easy given “the 7 ways to misuse gender pay gap data” I recently wrote about. In the short term, there is an immediate need to resolve errors in the data published and I will demonstrate that potentially 10-15% of organisations have entered incorrect data into the government’s database. [Read more…]
April 2018 was the deadline for submitting gender pay gap results and we now have the first detailed picture of how pay differs between men and women in the UK. A nifty government website can be used to look up pay gap details for any company employing more than 250 employees and you can also download the results for further analysis. So what will happen next? Will the data be used properly to inform debate about how men and women are paid or will it be misused for personal and political gain?
I believe this data can be of benefit to the debate around gender equality but my fear is that to begin with, it will be misused, misinterpreted and reinforce the saying “lies, damned lies and statistics”. So if you want to misuse gender pay gap data, who better to ask that a professional statistician like me who will show you how you can do this by commenting on 7 plausible statements.