Study reveals pay gap concerns on both sides of the Atlantic

Swiss software company beqom surveyed 2,000 employed adults – 1,000 in the US and 1,000 in the UK – on topics like gender pay gap and salary transparency

An in-depth study carried out by beqom across the UK and US has revealed a whole host of concerns among workers surrounding the gender pay gap, salary transparency and the impact of rising inflation. 

The Swiss software company surveyed a total of 2,000 employed adults – 1,000 in the US and 1,000 in the UK – to gauge their perspectives on:

  • Pay gap awareness
  • Trust in employers’ action to remedy pay gaps
  • The role the government should play in holding employers accountable
  • Transparency around pay

Strikingly, in the US, more than half (51%) of workers say their workplace has a problem in relation to gender pay gap – up 121% compared to a similar survey completed in 2019. 

In fact, more than a third (35%) believe the gender pay gap has increased over the past two years. 

Across the pond, almost two-thirds (62%) of UK employees say they would be willing to publicly share their salary in order to benefit others’ knowledge of compensation in their industry. 

Looking at different generations, Millennials are most likely (70%) to share their pay.

US workers question fairness of pay 

beqom, a cloud-based provider whose focus is on managing compensation and performance for HR and sales, surveyed 2,000 workers for its latest Levelling the Paying Field report. 

In the US, while a slight majority highlighted a gender pay gap problem, almost two in five (39%) also said they don’t think they’re paid fairly. 

More than half of employees (51%) think their employer or manager takes closing the gender pay gap seriously, although one in four (25%) disagree.

Interestingly, most employees (68%) would be more willing to work at a company that discloses gender pay gaps (up 5% on 2019).

“To bridge pay gaps in the workplace, employers must proactively build pay equity and increase transparency within their organisation,” says Tanya Jansen, co-founder of beqom. 

The team from beqom, which carried out a study relating to pay in the UK and US. Picture: beqom

“When employers make a conscious effort to boost pay equity and provide more transparency around pay decisions with their staff and candidates, they help to build a level of trust that contributes to a feeling and reality of fair pay.

“Amid today’s shifting work landscape and volatile job market, this meaningful progress toward remediating pay gaps and bias is critical to maintaining higher employee retention.”

UK workers lead charge on transparency

While Millennials are the most likely (70%) generation to share their pay, this compares to 59% of Gen Z, 58% of Gen X and 51% of Baby Boomers. 

Being open when it comes to salaries has long been considered taboo in the workplace but, given the modern-day emphasis on pay equity in the workplace, attitudes are rapidly changing.

Similarly to the US, two in five (42%) UK employees think their workplace has a problem with gender pay gaps (up 83% on 2019). Notably, 46% of men thought there was a problem, compared to 38% of women. 

Inflation and the rising cost of living has evidently had a profound impact on discussions surrounding pay, with almost two-thirds (63%) saying they are now likely to talk about pay with their colleagues. 

“Employers should consider implementing more transparent compensation processes, utilising data and technology to help reduce potential biases and alleviate pay discrepancies,” added Jansen. 

“As the cost of living crisis shows no signs of slowing down and workers feel the pressure of making ends meet, it’s vital that companies focus on pay transparency within their organisations as it plays a pivotal role in pay equity.”


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