Gender pay regulations: research reveals businesses need to tackle culture of ‘casual’ gender discrimination

  • Gender Pay Gap reporting rules come into force today, in what is being heralded as a watershed moment for gender equality
  • But new research released by the Chartered Management Institute reveals four in five (81%) managers have witnessed workplace gender discrimination in the past year; of those who have witnessed ‘bias in pay or remuneration decisions’, only 42% took direct action to challenge the behaviour that they saw
  • CMI says UK employers will gain business benefits from closing the gender pay gap in their organisations 

New research – released on the day that the Gender Pay Gap Regulations are introduced – reveals challenges UK businesses face to bring about gender parity in the workplace.

Companies with 250 or employees are now required to publish details on what they pay male and female staff following the implementation today [6 April 2017] of the government’s gender pay reporting regulation.

By turning employers’ attention to what they pay their men and women, the Government has heralded the introduced of The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) as an important step forward in its campaign to put promote gender diversity in the workplace.

However, a new survey by Chartered Management Institute (CMI) of 851 UK managers reveals that employers must urgently address organisational culture as part of their efforts to close the gender pay gap. Chief among this is addressing ‘casual’ acts of gender discrimination: CMI’s survey reveals that four in five (81%) managers have witnessed gender discrimination or bias in their workplace in the last year alone.

Despite 86% of managers being in favour of a more gender balanced workplace, CMI’s research suggests this is not translating into meaningful action to prevent or challenge negative behaviours. Just 42% of managers who said they witnessed bias in pay or remuneration decisions in the past 12 months said they had taken direct action to challenge the behaviour.

According to CMI Women, the UK economy will need two million new managers by 2024 – and 1.5 million of these will need to be women if we are to achieve gender balance. The economic argument for bridging the gender gap is clear: McKinsey calculates that it would add as much as £150bn to the economy by 2025 if eradicated completely.[1]

Ann Francke, CMI’s chief executive, said:

The gender pay reporting regulations are a great way to encourage employers to figure out how they can equalise what they pay their men and women. Creating transparency and setting targets are just the start; businesses must take a hard look at the reality of the many causes, like casual gender discrimination. 

We may live in more enlightened times but clearly we still have some way to go. Men and women have an equal role in creating a company culture that benefits all, so managers must call out any bad behaviour whenever they witness it.  

Today’s regulation is a real opportunity to create a more inclusive, more diverse, and more productive workforce – all of which is vital if Britain is to thrive post-Brexit.”

CMI’s research also reveals the need for employers to change how they support men to improve gender equality within their organisations. Two in five (41%) of managers admitted that they have never supported a man in taking longer paternity leave, and nearly a quarter (24%) have never supported a man in a flexible working request to accommodate childcare needs.

Heather Melville, Chair of CMI Women and CMI board member, commented:

“Diverse leadership is great for business, so closing the gender pay gap will benefit us all. CMI Women is working with employers to share the many great ideas and the practices that have made positive changes in promoting gender equality. Our Blueprint for Balance sets out the many ways that men can promote gender equality, strengthen their organisations and help us reach our target of 1.5m more women in management by 2024.”

‘Blueprint for Balance’ is a free online resource that allows employers to share information and learn from others the practices and policies that have helped improve gender balance in their organisations:


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Further information:

For further information, interviews or case studies please contact:

Matt Jamieson or Vicky Duckett at Teamspirit Public Relations on 0207 360 7877 or

Notes to editors

About CMI Women

CMI has been advocating gender balance since 1969 when it launched the Women in Management initiative.

In 2016, CMI increased its focus on gender diversity and the benefits that it brings to business by relaunching the Women in Management under the new banner of CMI Women.

CMI Women is a network within the Chartered Management Institute CMI - the only chartered professional body in the UK dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence.


About CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leaderships, dedicated to improving managers’ skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalents, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earning potential and improves workplace performance.

CMI has led the way in developing a suite of trailblazing management apprenticeships with a 40-strong group of employers. These start from Level 3 (operations manager) and Level 5 (team leader) through to Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. A Master’s degree-level apprenticeship is in development, giving employers the option to upskill managers of all levels. CMI is a Skills Funding Agency-registered apprentice assessment organisation.

We provide employers and individual managers with access to the latest management thinking and with practical online support that helps them to embrace change, create high-performing teams and keep ahead of the curve.

With a member community of more than 140,000 managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers to build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.