Workplace Inequality: How Can Female Employers Narrow the Divide?
Men are more likely to be offered shares in the company they work for than females, a new survey suggests. Analysis by law firm Boodle Hatfield of more than 30,000 instances when tax-advantaged share options were offered, showed 69% went to men and only 31% to women.
Meanwhile, a study of more than 14,000 tax-advantaged share options that have been taken up, showed men accounted for 70% and women 30%.
The data will understandably come as a concern to female workers across the UK, many of whom are already contending with the gender pay gap and gender pensions gap, which is why the experts at money.co.uk have put together a guide with all the top tips when it comes to narrowing the divide.
Florence Codjoe for money.co.uk said: “Research consistently shows there is a discrepancy in the amounts men and women can earn and save over the course of their careers, and the news men are more likely to be offered shares in the company they work for than females only compounds the issue.
“Systemic failures to protect female workers are to blame for the gender pay gap, while other critical factors include a shortage of women hired into senior positions, lack of career progression following maternity leave and the high number of women in low-paid or part-time careers.
“Government action to address the issue is needed, but in the meantime, women must plan ahead and take action to bridge the gap.
“Start by planning for post-work life and enrolling in a workplace pension. Even if you earn under the auto-enrolment threshold of £10,000 a year, you can still ask to join the company scheme. If you earn over £6,240 a year, you’ll get company contributions (free money from your employer) and if you earn less, you’ll still get the benefit of tax relief (free money from the government).
“If you’re already enrolled, look to maximise the amount you get from your bosses by boosting your own pension contributions. Many employers offer ‘matching’, which means they’ll contribute extra money if you do – with some doubling whatever you pay in. Even if your company doesn’t ‘match’ it’s worth boosting your contributions, as you’ll get a handy tax relief boost.
“If you don’t have a workplace pension to contribute to, open a private one and save into that. There are no company contributions, but you’ll still get tax relief. Remember that the earlier you start saving, the more effective this will be, due to the power of compound interest.
“Another way to earn back cash is by claiming National Insurance credits if you’re not in work due to pregnancy, childcare or other caring responsibilities. Many benefits, including child benefit, automatically give you NI credits.
“Many women don’t sign up for child benefit because when their partner earns over the £50,000 limit, they have to start paying it back. But you can claim the benefit and tick a box that says you won’t receive the money, which cuts down on admin and protects your NI record and state pension.
“When it comes to retirement, make sure you’re on track to get the full state pension. You need 35 years of NI contributions to get the full amount, and you can buy additional years if you don’t have enough. Don’t buy extra if you have enough working years left to receive the contributions you need.
“Finally, make sure you’re getting all the tax relief you’ve earned by saving into a pension. If you’re self-employed, you can claim the relief through self-assessment. Meanwhile, most employees get tax relief worth between 20% and 45% automatically. The amount depends on what income tax rate you pay. And remember that private pension savings all benefit from tax relief.
“To compare pension plans from all the top providers, use money.co.uk’s comparison tool here: https://www.money.co.uk/pensions.htm.”