14th May 2018
That there are discrepancies in the salaries paid to men and women is not exactly earth shattering news, but the topic has hit headlines recently after companies with more than 250 employees had to declare what they pay their staff. It’s come as no shock to anyone that the data shows that 78% of the companies who filed reports paid their male employees more – substantially so in some cases – than their female employees.
Interestingly, some 200+ small companies who were not required to file data chose to do so voluntarily. So what does this mean for your small to medium enterprise? Chances are it’s sparked a conversation among your employees. And did you know that small businesses are leading the way when it comes to closing the gender pay gap with industries that are dominated by SMEs closing the gap twice as quickly as those made up of primarily bigger companies?
This demonstrates that it’s entirely possible to implement a fairer salary scale for all employees, regardless of the size of your business – and of their sex. The key lies in the fact that smaller firms are not so beholden to factors such as red tape, bureaucracy, the old boys’ network holding positions in the upper ranks, and even company tradition. But it’s possible that mandatory reporting could filter down to smaller businesses – and how likely is it that you might grow to 250 employees, thus requiring you to comply with legislation?
So what can the average SME do to ensure they’re operating in a more gender-neutral environment?
Many experts believe it’s not just about closing the gender pay gap by paying women more, it’s about adopting a more inclusive company culture – including flexible working hours, the use of mobile technology, and financially viable leave packages for new parents.
Transparency is also key – particularly during recruitment, appraisals and promotions. Removing the shroud of secrecy about the gender pay gap will foster a more open environment that benefits both company culture as well as employees on an individual level. Plus by being a trailblazer and making it public knowledge you’re an SME who’s a genuine equal opportunity employer, you’ll be attracting top talent and possibly even investors. Making salary scales clear internally is also important so ALL employees can know what to expect at every level. It will quell dissention in the ranks and help dispel resentment among staff too.
Did you know the government has pledged to eliminate the gender pay gap within this generation? Don’t let your small to medium enterprise get left behind – by ensuring the salaries you pay are fair and you’re adopting an agile working culture you’ll help retain key employees and attract new talent that will be as lucky to work for you as you are to have them! The ball is in your court – be grateful you have the ability and agility to close the gender pay gap on your own terms and in a way that benefits both your employees and your company.
Clarisse works on our Customer Care Team to provide all of our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.