Firms reporting gender pay gap data should present their findings in the form of a ‘pound/pence’ comparison rather than as a percentage, the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) says, warning some of the reports so far have been flawed.

In a report published today the RSS says displaying data in this format would be a clearer and simpler system with ‘much less room for confusion’. The RSS said it welcomes the principle of gender pay gap reporting, but that current arrangements are flawed and have at times been too confusing.

Under the proposed model, organisations would be asked to submit the hourly earnings of the median woman, on the basis that the median man earns £1 per hour. For example, instead of reporting that a women’s hourly rate is 20.9% lower than men, a report would instead say that for every £1 that the average man earned, the average woman earned 79p.

The RSS also said companies should be asked to calculate the median gender pay gap within each of the four pay quartiles. This, it submits, could make it harder for the system to be ‘gamed’ by any unscrupulous employer.

The RSS’s has also recommended;

  • Introducing online gender pay calculators with built-in statistical ‘sanity-checks’;
  • Keeping the reporting threshold at 250 employers;

Jen Rogers, RSS’s vice-president for external affairs, said: 'We warmly welcomed the government’s original decision to introduce gender pay gap reporting. We also recognise the important improvements that it has since made. But we would urge it to go further and faster,’ she said.

Under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, firms with 250 or more employees are required to reveal their gender pay gap annually. The regulations stipulate that firms provide information for the previous year by 4 April.

The Law Society has recommended that all law firms, including those with fewer than 250 employees, publish their gender pay gap statistics in the current reporting period.