Addressing the gender pay gap: employer methods

This report presents the findings of 14 interviews with employers in the private and public sector.

This document is part of a collection

2. Methodology and Participants


To investigate the perceptions and responses of employers to the gender pay gap, this research project engaged in 14 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with businesses and public sector organisations. The participants were selected to represent a range of company sizes and sectors, as well as to provide examples of both public and private sector reporting requirements.

Participants were recruited through a combination of stakeholder recommendation and a general call for participation directed towards all signatories of the Scottish Business Pledge. As participation was entirely voluntary, it is important to emphasise the highly self-selecting nature of the sample. Therefore, the perspectives offered here are unlikely to be representative of business perspectives in general. They do however provide examples of good practice as well as a range of experiences of engaging with the gender pay gap.

In larger organisations, interviews were conducted with individuals responsible for the management of diversity within the workforce, while in smaller organisations HR managers and, in some cases, Managing Directors were the primary respondents. The interviews were conducted in person or over the phone, depending on the preferences of the interviewee. Interviews lasted between around 30 minutes and 60 minutes. Interviews were semi-structured. While an interview schedule was used (see Annex A) to guide the questions, this was used flexibly on the basis of the participants' responses.

The questions in the interview schedule explored, first, the participants' attitude towards their reporting requirements or, in the case employers not covered by these requirements, whether and in what way they engaged with the gender pay gap or gender equality concerns. Second, employers were asked about the strategies they had adopted to engage with the gender pay gap. Finally, we asked about they regarded as the benefits of engaging with the gender pay gap and whether they perceived challenges in reducing it. Interviews were audio-recorded. The process of analysis involved listening to the recordings and taking notes to clarify the main points. For the purposes of clarification and analysis, relevant sections were transcribed. All participants were provided with the option to edit, amend or elaborate on the quotations attributed to them prior to their publication in the final report.


Several of our respondents wished to remain anonymous as a condition of their involvement in the research. These are referred to as such in the report, and will here be described in terms of the contextual information they wished to provide. Participants were given discretion over the terms in which we referred to them in the research. The companies and interviewees, in their preferred terms, are as follows:



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