This year, Equal Pay Day fell on 18th November 2021, two days earlier than last year – but what does this really mean, asks Darren Hockley, Managing Director of DeltaNet International.

It highlights the day in the year where women effectively, on average, stop earning relative to men due to the gender pay gap. With the gender pay gap widening for the first time in a while, the pandemic has unfortunately led progress to take a step backwards.  

According to the ONS Gender Pay Gap in the UK 2021 report, this year, the gender pay gap saw a rise of 1.3% compared to 2020, revealing that younger women face an increasing gender pay gap. 


Organisations are failing women 

In 2021, there really should be no reason for all genders not to receive equal pay. The pandemic is also not an excuse to not pay fairly. Although the pandemic has put a lot of organisational activities on the backburner, does equal pay have to be one of them? 

The fact that the number of organisations reporting gender pay gap figures fell by 11 percent despite the extended deadline this year speaks volumes. 

Women need support to get paid what they deserve. If they are working in the same role as their male counterparts, then no reason remains for not paying the two equally. 


Tackling the gender pay gap 

Addressing the gender pay gap starts with education and is followed through with solid internal policies. Unfortunately, unconscious bias still exists in the workforce and takes form from small comments to getting paid less.  

The latest research by Indeed found that 48 percent of girls aged between 16 and 18 would rule out working for an organisation that evidences a gender pay gap against women. With the country already facing a skills shortage, neglecting to fix internal pay equality issues will lead to organisations losing out on future talent.  

Tackling equal pay head-on requires educating business leaders and line managers on diversity, equity and inclusion. This is the way to help stamp out unconscious bias. Business leaders must treat all genders equally during the hiring process and offer them the same salary. Embedding this equality into HR policies and creating a strict pay structure will reduce the chances for the gender pay gap to exist in the workplace. 

This includes base pay and assessing employees’ performance reviews at one time for pay increases, promotions and bonuses. Men need to become allies, and creating a supportive environment is paramount for everybody to feel they have equal opportunity.   


Don’t go back to the old ways

Following the pandemic, many organisations have gone back to old ways, forcing employees back into the office and penalising those who want more work-life balance. 

In honesty, the pandemic was enough proof that employees working remotely remain productive and self-disciplined. Continuing to offer flexible, remote or hybrid working will further strengthen women’s faith in their organisations, supporting the argument for equal pay. 




Darren Hockley founded DeltaNet International in 1999 and has been a hands-on Managing Director ever since. The company specialises in creating engaging compliance, performance and health and safety eLearning courses for organisations around the globe, using cutting-edge learning design techniques.