Four key data points on the gender pay gap 2023

Author: Hannah Mason

The gender pay gap has declined slightly, although the majority of organisations continue to have a gap in favour of males. We explore a number of statistics covering pay and bonus gaps, with details of broad sector and industry.

A Brightmine Pay Equity Analytics analysis of the latest figures has found the median UK gender pay gap was 9.4% for 2022. The gap has decreased slightly by 0.3 percentage points, down from 9.7% the previous year and has steadily declined since 2019.

Headline gender pay gap figures

  • Median gender pay gap - 9.4%
  • Median gender bonus gap - 15.2%
  • Proportion of the top quartile pay band that are women - 39.5%
  • Proportion of the bottom quartile pay band that are women - 56.9%

The gender bonus gap has also continued to decline, with a median bonus gap of 15.2% for this reporting cycle compared with 16.2% last year, and down from 19% in 2020. In 2022, we have seen the highest recorded proportion of employees receiving a bonus, regardless of gender, since gender pay gap reporting became mandatory in 2017. This stands at 25.5% of male and 24.4% of female employees receiving a bonus.

We highlight four key data points from the new UK gender pay gap data, based on all organisations who submitted their data by the deadline of 4 April 2023 (10,218 organisations).

1. The majority of organisations have a pay gap in favour of males

Whilst the median gender pay gap has decreased, there is still a high proportion of organisations who pay males more, with around nine in 10 organisations (87.5%) reporting a mean hourly pay gap in favour of males. There has been little movement in this measure, which has remained consistent at just under 90% for the past six years.

When broken down by broad sector, the charities and not-for-profit sector had the lowest proportion of organisations with a mean pay gap in favour of males at 84.1%. In contrast, the public-services sector had the highest proportion, with 91.6% of organisations having a pay gap in favour of males. This is consistent with the median pay gap, which stands at just 3.5% for charities and not-for-profit organisations whilst those in public services had a median gap of 13.3%.

Around three-fifths (59.9%) of organisations that submitted their data by the deadline had a bonus gap in favour of males, which was slightly lower compared with last year (57.2%). Bonus gaps differed across broad sectors, with charities and not-for-profits and public services having a significantly lower proportion of organisations with a mean bonus gap in favour of males (31.8% and 27.9% respectively).

2. Around half of organisations have reduced their gender pay gap since last year

Of the organisations that submitted data both this year and last, 50.5% reduced their mean hourly pay gap compared with last year. This was fairly consistent across all broad sectors (between 49.1% and 53.5%).

Around one-third (32.6%) of organisations reduced their mean bonus gap. When broken down by broad sector, manufacturing and production and private-sector services both saw around two-fifths of organisations reducing their bonus gap compared with the previous year (42.2% and 38% respectively).

3. Around two-fifths of employees in the top pay quartile are women

Representation of women in the top pay quartile has continued to improve slightly year-on-year, from 38.8% in 2021, to 39.5% in the current reporting cycle. Despite this, women still tend to occupy the middle and lower quartiles and be under-represented in the top quartile. Overall, comparing with last year, representation of women in all quartiles has increased.

4. Fewer charity and not-for-profit organisations have a gender pay gap above the national average

The mean gender pay gap nationally is 12.3%, across all organisations who have submitted their data. A minority of organisations in the charities/not-for-profit sector (25.5%) have a pay gap above the national average, whilst within all other broad sectors approximately half of organisations have a pay gap above the national average.

When exploring gender pay gaps by industry, employers in construction, finance and public education continue to have the largest median pay gaps between males and females, all at over 20%. This is more than 10 percentage points larger than the median gender pay gap across all organisations who reported by the deadline. Similarly, construction and finance were industries with the largest median bonus gaps, standing at 30% and 35.5% respectively.

Technical notes

All employers with 250 or more employees are legally obliged to report every year on six key metrics about their gender pay gap and gender bonus gap using data inputs and calculations set out in the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/172). The Brightmine Pay Equity Analytics analysis covers key findings from the 10,218 gender pay gap report submissions published on the government website in the 12 months to 4 April 2023.

In this resource, where we mention median, this refers to the midpoint of the reported median hourly pay rate data. Where the mean is referenced, this refers to the midpoint across the reported average (mean) hourly pay rate data. Industries have been assigned based on the standard HR & Compliance Centre industry classification system.

HR & Compliance Centre offers a range of resources to help organisations measure and act to reduce pay gaps:

  • Gapsquare - part of the HR & Compliance Centre portfolio - offers HR and reward professionals advanced pay equity solutions to provide actionable insights on existing pay gaps through their flagship software FairPay® Pro. Advanced statistical analysis identifies variables for employee demographics such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability, identifying the causes of pay gaps, and proposing and tracking remedial actions. Brightmine Pay Equity Analytics also offers a gender pay gap reporting service to guide users through the process of data collection and metric calculation to meet current UK gender pay gap reporting requirements.
  • Our gender pay gap topic page has links to HR & Compliance Centre compliance and leading practice resources, including essential guidance on how to measure and report a gender pay gap.