The regulation comes ahead of all companies that employ more than 250 staff being required to publish their pay gap between men and women from next April as part of the Government’s aim to end the difference between salaries of both genders.
On her first day in office as Prime Minister, Theresa May pledged to defeat the lingering pay discrepancy between men and women.
However, the Telegraph reports that a survey of 250 employers by NGA Human Resources revealed that 29pc of bosses admitted they didn’t realise the importance of the gender pay gap with 14pc of male respondents saying it wasn’t necessary to have a plan in place.
Minister for women and equalities Justine Greening said there was a potential £150bn boost to the economy from eliminating work-related gender gaps.
“Helping women to reach their full potential isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense and is good for British business”, she added.
The Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970 in an effort to combat the divide and was superseded by the Equality Act in 2010. However, on average women still earn around 18pc less per hour than men.
This is a “record low” according to Government, down from 23pc in 2003, but campaigners and investors have said that more needs to be done.
“What gets measured gets managed and what gets published gets managed even better”, Jane-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money commented.
“Gender imbalance has a direct impact on average male and female salaries. Gender pay gap reporting will encourage all companies to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of their practices and work hard to ensure progress in this area.”, she added.
However, Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander, who are leading the FTSE Women Leaders review, said that they wanted to see more women in senior executive positions and on the board.
They said that they also urged British businesses to be “be more transparent about the numbers of women at the top”.
“The gender gap doesn’t stop at pay”, said Rose St Louis, savings expert at Zurich UK. “Women are also facing a potential pension shortfall of £47,000, a result of the ‘triple effect’ of smaller salaries, more career breaks and the greater likelihood of men progressing to more senior positions.”
Meanwhile, other critics argued that the disclosure requirements left wriggle room for companies with multiple subsidiaries who could claim that they would fall below the 250 employee threshold.
“Many companies who are perceived to have 250 employees or more might not have to disclose this information as there may be multiple employing entities meaning that their individual businesses actually have less than this number of staff”, said Elliott Silk, head of employee benefits at Sanlam.