A survey from Stewards Law finds that while nearly half of women are willing to file a complaint about unequal pay, many lack sufficient knowledge about how to take legal action.
By Maggie Mancini
A Stewarts Law survey of 2,000 working women in the U.K. finds that high earners believe they are more likely to experience gender inequality at work. The results show that younger and higher-paid women are more likely to raise grievances with an employer, and while nearly half (48.6%) of women would be willing to file a complaint about unequal pay, many (39.1%) lack sufficient knowledge about how to take legal action.
Overall, female higher earners express greater concern about being underpaid compared to their male colleagues – this is true for over a third (38.7%) amongst those earning over £75,000 annually, compared to just 18.4% of those earning less than £15,000.
Almost two-thirds (59.8%) of respondents say they have never tried to negotiate their total compensation including bonus and, of those earning £75,000 or more, nearly half (45.3%) say they have never tried to negotiate pay. The main reason for over one-third (38.3%) of respondents not negotiating is a lack of confidence in challenging an employer.
The research reveals that nearly half of respondents (48.6%) say that they would consider raising a complaint to their employer if they didn’t receive equal pay for their work in comparison to their male counterparts.
When it comes to the prospect of bringing legal action against an employer over unequal pay in the workplace, over one-third (37.6%) of those surveyed say they would consider asserting their rights in the Employment Tribunal or courts. However, almost two-fifths (39.1%) of respondents say they do not have sufficient knowledge about the legal process they should follow.
Overall, younger women are more willing to consider legal action, with 47.6% of 16 to 24 year olds claiming they would look into this, in comparison to just 21.8% of over 55s. Additionally, those earning over £75,000 are also more inclined to consider asserting their legal rights in courts, with nearly half (45.6%) claiming they would do so, compared to only 28.6% of those earning between £45,000 and £55,000.
A third (33.1%) of British women are uncertain they are paid equally to their male colleagues. In assessing attitudes around negotiating pay, nearly a third (31.3%) of women surveyed say they were not comfortable discussing salary and remuneration with their co-workers.
“Promoting women into senior roles is a key priority for businesses and there remains a lot of work for businesses to do in this regard,” says Joseph Lappin, head of employment at Stewarts Law. “Our data shows that women in senior roles believe they are being paid less than their male counterparts. This is worrying. Employers will need to make sure that, unless a pay differential can be justified lawfully, they are not paying men in senior roles more than women performing the same work. If they do, they may face equal pay claims.”