New research shows how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the gender pay gap with women being left behind when it comes to being rewarded financially.

Despite taking on new roles or additional responsibilities during the crisis, women were still shown to be less likely to receive financial reward compared to their male peers.

Data from ADP Research Institute indicates that over three-quarters of men in the UK received a pay rise or bonus for taking on more work, compared to just two-thirds (68 per cent) of women doing the same.

This is despite, in the UK, women actually having been more likely to take on additional responsibilities due to COVID-19 related job losses as opposed to men.

This trend was also witnessed globally, indicating the scale of the problem worldwide and the immense impact of the pandemic.

Jeff Phipps, Managing Director of ADP UK, spoke of the gender pay gap being “ingrained” in workplaces across the UK which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

He continued:

Employees have been stepping up to support their employers in the face of job cuts or restructuring of operations, yet women are not being rewarded as favourably as men for taking on additional responsibilities.

As such, this gender pay gap has been recognised by many women with only half feeling their employer is currently doing enough to close the gender pay gap and address diversity.

In addition, over half (52 per cent) expressed cynicism in their company’s policies, expressing that “[their] company states there is pay equality, but [they] haven’t seen it”.

This research comes as the deadline for organisations reporting on their gender pay gap passed in October, with as many as one in 10 failing to report.

Mr. Phipps continued:

Employers must continue to work towards achieving pay equity in their organisations.

It has been proven time and time again that diversity is an essential attribute of a successful business, and one that can adapt and innovate in a rapidly changing economic landscape. Ensuring that women are getting a fair chance to progress in their career must be top of mind as we emerge from the pandemic.

The additional burden of unpaid work has continued to fall mainly on women during the pandemic, and this has taken a toll.

I fear that some flexible working models, despite being well intended, could create increased disparity.

Companies may shrug their shoulders and say it’s not their job to fix societal issues, or instead, they could choose to shine a light on the issue and play a role in changing behaviours and policies to level the playing field and create a more equitable future.

*This research has been obtained from ADP Research Institute’s ‘People at Work 2021: A Global Workforce View’ report which surveyed 32,471 workers in 17 countries around the world between 17 November and 11 December 2020.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.