Top employers sign up to gender equality employment initiative

A number of top employers in the UK have signed up for a scheme promoting gender equality in the workplace.

BAE Systems and Royal Bank of Scotland are among more than 140 major employers that have joined the Government's Think, Act, Report (TAR) campaign, Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller revealed this week.

Businesses are encouraged to promote equal opportunities in their workplaces and report on the action they are taking as part of the voluntary scheme, which is aiming to generate a culture shift on the issue.

A report entitled Two Years On showed that the number of companies recruited to the scheme has more than doubled in the last year, rising from 54 in November 2012 to 140 in November 2013.

It means that almost two million workers - around 20% of the entire UK workforce in medium-sized or large companies, which are defined as those with over 150 staff - are now covered.

And two-thirds of companies (66%) said they have been doing more to encourage female talent within their organisation since they signed up to TAR, having introduced mentoring and sponsorship schemes, implemented targeted development programmes and encouraged women to take top jobs.

Almost half of the companies (48%) have completed an equal pay audit in the last year, showing their commitment to tackling the gender pay gap.

Ms Miller welcomed the news that more companies have signed up to the scheme and are taking action to boost women's employment opportunities and increase transparency over equal pay.

Getting involved in the scheme and its activities also represents "good business sense", the minister argued.

She said: "These businesses recognise that with women making up nearly half of the UK's workforce, the companies who nurture their skills and talents will reap the economic benefits.

"That's why I am urging more employers to follow companies like Tesco, Royal Bank of Scotland and M&S and sign up to breaking down the barriers that stop women reaching their full potential."

Copyright Press Association 2013