Government launches pay transparency pilot to break down barriers for women

Miniature people with piles of coins, minimum wage, pay gap, pay transparency, equal pay

The government has announced it’s launching two new initiatives to level up employment opportunities for women as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Announced on International Women’s Day, the first new initiative will seek to improve pay transparency in the job application process and help businesses who want to go even further in attracting women to their positions. 

As part of the pilot scheme, participating employers will list salary details on all job adverts and stop asking about salary history during recruitment. This could provide women with a firm footing to negotiate pay on a fairer basis.

Alongside this, the Government will launch a new returners programme to help women back into STEM careers. Research and employee feedback shows that returning to STEM roles after taking time out to care for loved ones can present significant challenges. This new programme will help organisations to recruit and retain talented staff who are often overlooked because of a gap on their CV, by providing training, development and employment support to those who have taken time out for caring.

68% of people say that a salary was the most important factor of a job advert

58% of women felt they had received a lower salary offer after being asked about previous salary history

International data also shows that job seekers place a strong emphasis on salary when looking for their next career move.

In a Glassdoor survey 68 per cent of people say that a salary was the most important factor of a job advert, showing that, where possible, it makes good business sense to share salary details at the very beginning of the application process.

Additionally, a study from the Fawcett Society shows that a requirement to provide salary history makes everyone less confident when negotiating their pay. It has a particularly negative impact on women’s confidence, with 58 per cent of women saying that they felt they had received a lower salary offer than they would have if the question had not been asked during the application process.

However, the Government recognises that many employers do not have agreed pay scales, and that ambiguous pay policies and historic pay decisions may make it challenging for them to include pay information on job adverts. That is why the forthcoming pilot will see the Government work with employers to develop and pilot a methodology which others can adopt, so that all organisations can provide pay information at the recruitment stage and remove their reliance on questions about pay history if they choose.

Speaking about the announcement, Minister for Women, Baroness Stedman-Scott, said, “The UK can only grasp its full potential by championing its brightest and best, and ensuring everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to succeed.”

“We believe that increased pay transparency will build on positive evidence of the role information can play when it comes to empowering women in the workplace.”

“It is essential that we keep women at the forefront of the levelling up agenda as we recover from the pandemic and rebuild together.”


“Our second announcement, supporting skilled women to return to STEM careers after care leave, will keep talented minds in STEM and improve the representation of women and marginalised communities in those incredibly important roles.”


Meet our 100 incredible leaders breaking the bias & calling for societal change this International Women’s Day

As part of our #WeAreBreakingTheBias campaign, we will be sharing the thoughts of over 100 leaders who are calling for societal change for women. We hope you will join us so we can amplify why we should all #BreakTheBias for gender equity.

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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