Equal pay review step 1: determine whether employees are doing equal work

Multipage Guide

Who is this page for?

  • small and medium organisations (fewer than 50 employees)

Which countries is it relevant to?

    • Great Britain

At this stage of your equal pay review, you have to identify whether your male and female employees are doing equal work.

Similar jobs are relatively easy to weigh up, but to check whether different jobs are equal in value you need to consider these key points:

  • the job demands, such as the skills and knowledge the jobs require, and
  • the responsibilities and sorts of problems the jobholders have to deal with.

Remember, it's the jobs you are evaluating, not the jobholders.

Start with a spreadsheet

You will need to pull information about each of your employees out of your payroll and personnel systems and enter it onto a spreadsheet. You can complete the spreadsheet manually, but spreadsheet software (such as Microsoft Excel) is helpful.

For guidance, see our Sample Spreadsheet Tool.

Create the spreadsheet then enter the following information:

  • each employee’s name or employee number, job title and grade, start date, hours of work and whether they are male or female
  • each employee’s basic pay, total earnings and other work-related benefits. Total earnings include basic pay plus any additions such as overtime, shift pay, bonuses, commission, or any other payments. Benefits include holidays, sick pay, company cars, pension contributions and any other form of non-cash benefit, and
  • each employee's basic hourly rate and the number of standard basic hours of work per week (if some work full-time and others part-time or flexibly).

Next, decide which of your employees are doing equal work

Go through the employees on your spreadsheet and identify which of them are doing the same or broadly similar jobs ('like work').

For example, all your salespeople may be doing the same jobs as each other – or all your delivery drivers or production workers. Job titles are a starting point but think carefully about what people actually do.

Some of your employees may do jobs that no one else does. For example, you may have only one chef in your restaurant, or only one office manager. But check that people with different job titles are not, in fact, doing pretty much the same job, such as a chef and a cook.

Go through the remaining employees to estimate the relative ‘size’ and ‘weight’ of their jobs, perhaps with the help of a colleague who also knows the jobs well. Focus on the demands of the job –  not the abilities of the person doing it – to determine which jobs are of ‘equal value’.

Use your judgement to decide which jobs to compare. You don't need to compare the job of a female cleaner with that of a male production manager, but you do need to compare, for example, the job of a female clerical assistant with that of a male warehouse operative because their work may be of equal value in terms of job demands.

To help you identify which employees are doing equal work, use our Equal Value Estimator Tool.

Once you have completed this process, you will know which of your employees are doing equal work. 


While every effort has been made to ensure that this advice is accurate and up to date, it does not guarantee that you could successfully defend an equal pay claim. Only the courts or tribunals can give authoritative interpretations of the law.

Last updated: 19 Feb 2019

Contact Acas for further information

If you are involved in an employment dispute or are seeking information on employment rights and rules, you can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas):

Visit the Acas website

Freephone: 0300 123 1100 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday)

Text Relay service: 18001 0300 123 1100.