5th August 2019
Equality and feminism campaigns are always at the forefront of the public eye these days and one of the hottest topics amongst those conversations is the gap in pay between genders.
The gender pay gap is the difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across a workforce. This is worked out by looking at the median wage for both men and women and comparing the difference between the two figures. Last year, a study revealed that the median woman is paid less than the median man across all sectors in the UK.
NB: It’s important not to confuse the gender pay gap with unequal pay which is when men and women who do the same job are paid differently. This has been illegal since 1970.
Employers of firms with 250 or more employees must disclose their gender pay gap data, with the results to be published on their own and on the Government’s website. As of April 2018, that amounted to approximately 9,000 UK companies.
What Data were Firms Asked to Provide?
Out of the UK employers who were obligated by law to disclose their gender pay gap data, 100% of them have complied with regulations and released their results.
Legally, they needed to state the amounts that their employees were paid, and the gender of those employees. In addition to this, they were also required to provide a statement that detailed the reasoning behind the gaps if any, and what actions they proposed to take to close them.
The information required of these firms to provide are as follows:
- Their mean gender pay gap.
- Their median gender pay gap.
- Their mean bonus gender pay gap.
- Their median bonus gender pay gap.
- The proportion of men in the organisation receiving a bonus payment.
- The proportion of women in the organisation receiving a bonus payment.
- The proportion of men and women in each quartile pay band.
These rules were slightly different for employees in the public sector and those who work in private or voluntary sectors.
The Public Sector
If a public sector employer listed in Schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 has 250 or more staff on 31 March, then they must publish their data by 30 March of the following year.
Private and Voluntary Sectors
If a private or voluntary sector employer (or a public sector employer not listed in Schedule 2) has 250 or more employees on 5 April, they must publish their data by 4 April of the following year.
What Findings did the Report Uncover?
Well, perhaps not surprisingly, when the results were in it showed that women are still having issues being remunerated on a par with their male counterparts; and it wasn’t just companies at the smaller end of the scale with, perhaps, a more traditional outlook that were at fault. Organisations that were named and shamed included big players such as Ryanair, Apple and the BBC.
How can Companies Close the Gender Pay Gap?
Transparency is key, particularly now that talented candidates are looking much closer at factors such as company culture when job hunting. And the very fact that gender pay gap data is being shared is a step in the right direction: companies that do not treat their employees equally due to gender bias no longer have anywhere to hide!
To be considered a great place to work by prospective employees, today’s company needs to foster an environment which embraces collaboration and the willingness to adopt different ways of working. For larger companies, the very fact they have submitted their gender pay gap data is a good indication that they are, hopefully, open and willing to address any inequalities.
With that said, how can companies put their best foot forward to close the gender pay gap?
Include multiple women in shortlists for recruitment and promotions
To close the gap, ensuring that women (and not just one token woman…) are in the running for internal promotions and are included on recruitment shortlists will undoubtedly help. During both of these processes, using assessments that are based on performance with no regard for gender is also crucial.
Skill Based Assessment
Step away from the preconceptions of gender roles that part of society still can’t seem to let go of, such as the fear that hiring a young woman who is likely to go off on maternity leave at some point in her career would be damaging to a company, and assess candidates for promotions and recruitment based purely on their skill sets and their suitability for the job at hand. Standardise the tasks and how they are scored to ensure fairness across candidates.
Conduct Structured Interviews
Further to the last point, by conducting a structured interview that asks exactly the same questions of all candidates in a predetermined order and format and grading the responses using a pre-specifies, standardised criteria will allow for professional and unbiased decision making.
Every business wants the best for its future and in today’s market, that means embracing a positive, forward-thinking culture that not only increases internal productivity but also attracts top talent to help drive the organisation forward. One way of achieving both of those things is by employing a diverse workforce made up of people who have different perspectives on how to efficiently and effectively get the job done.
That also means employing people of, not only different genders but also of different races, ages, sexual orientations and backgrounds – then nurturing them, treating them all equally and paying them all fairly.
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