The Actions You Can Take to Close the Gender Pay Gap


21st February 2020

Read time

3 minutes

With International Women’s Day approaching, we wanted to share some evidence based actions from the government’s latest research on closing the gender pay gap. Most importantly, what you can do to tackle this issue within your business.

The Government Equalities Office report, ‘Reducing the gender pay gap and improving gender equality in organisations: Evidence-based actions for employers’ outlines the below strategies you can take.

Effective Actions

  • Include multiple women in shortlists for recruitment and promotions 1

When putting together a shortlist of qualified candidates, make sure more than one woman is included. Consequently, shortlists with only one woman do not increase the chance of a woman being selected.

  • Use skill-based assessment tasks in hiring strategies

For example, rather than relying only on interviews, you can ask candidates to perform tasks they would be expected to perform in the role they are applying for. Moreover, you can use their performance on those tasks to assess their suitability for the role. Further, you can standardise the tasks and how they are scored to ensure fairness across candidates.2

  • Use structured interviews for recruitment and promotions

Structured and unstructured interviews both have strengths and weaknesses, but unstructured interviews are more likely to allow unfair bias to creep in and influence decisions. However, you can use structured interviews that:

Ask exactly the same questions of all candidates in a predetermined
order and format.

Grade the responses using specific, standardised criteria. Therefore, the responses will be comparable and it will reduce the impact of unconscious bias.3

  • Encourage salary negotiation by showing salary ranges

Women are less likely to negotiate their pay,4 and this is partly because women are put off if they are not sure about what a reasonable offer is. Consequently, employers should clearly communicate the salary range on offer for a role to encourage women to negotiate their salary. Certainly, it helps the applicant know what they can reasonably expect.5

Want to talk more about what can be done to tackle the gender pay gap? Come along to our International Women’s Day event on 10th March to join the conversation!


  1. Johnson, S. K., Hekman, D. R., & Chan, E. T. (2016). If there’s only one woman in your candidate pool, there’s statistically no chance she’ll be hired. Harvard Business Review, 26(04).
  2. Cabrera, M. A. M., & Nguyen, N. T. (2001). Situational judgement tests: A review of practice and constructs assessed. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 9(1-2), 103-113.
  3. Levashina, J., Hartwell, C. J., Morgeson, F. P., & Campion, M. A. (2014). The structured employment interview: Narrative and quantitative review of the research literature. Personnel Psychology, 67(1), 241-293; Oh, I. Postlethwaite, B.E. & Schmidt, F.L. (2013). Rethinking the validity of interviews for employment decision
    making: Implications of recent developments in meta-analysis (Chapter 12, pp. 297-329). In D. J. Svyantek & K. Mahoney (Eds.), Received wisdom, kernels of truth, and boundary conditions in organizational studies.
  4. Leibbrandt, A., & List, J. A. (2014). Do women avoid salary negotiations? Evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment. Management Science, 61(9), 2016-2024.
  5. Mazei, J., Hüffmeier, J., Freund, P. A., Stuhlmacher, A. F., Bilke, L., & Hertel, G. (2015). A meta-analysis on gender differences in negotiation outcomes and their moderators. Psychological Bulletin, 141(1), 85.