By now, it is more than likely that you have heard of the Gender Pay Gap – but do you understand exactly what your responsibilities are relating to the issue?
The gender pay gap has been addressed in the media for quite some time now, with the Civil Service recently publishing a list of all the pay gaps across government departments – and the results were surprising to many.
The Department for Transport shockingly had the largest pay gap at 16.9%, with the Department for Exiting the EU following closely in second place with a gap of 15.26%.
These figures came as a shock after Theresa May had expressed her dedication towards “making sure the gender pay gap is eliminated once and for all”, as clearly no progress has been made in reducing governmental department pay gaps.
In fact, 84% of UK businesses have a smaller pay gap than the Department for Transport.
Nonetheless, the PM ordered all businesses to make their gender pay gap details transparent, which is the very first step to closing the gap completely.
What will be Expected of you come this April?
If you currently employ 250 workers or more in the private sector, you must publish a report assessing the gender pay gap within your company by the 4th April 2018. The report must include the following:
- Mean hourly rates comparison (between female and male employees)
- Median hourly rates comparison
- The bonus pay gap amongst female and male employees/how many employees are receiving bonuses
- The proportion of female and male in each pay quartile.
It is also advised that you include a written statement within your report explaining your thoughts on the results, as well as your plans on how to close the pay gap or resolve certain issues.
The report must be easily accessible via your website and displayed on the Government Gender Pay Gap reporting page.
Addressing your Company’s Gender Pay Gap
It’s important to remember that having a gender pay gap does not necessarily mean that unlawful discrimination is occurring in your business – but it should motivate you to make appropriate changes for the benefit of your female employees.
Golin is a global PR firm, and they have published research on how they believe evidence of a wide pay gap could potentially affect companies. 1,002 senior professionals and business owners were questioned in the survey.
We found the below points to be the most significant:
- Four in ten women would consider leaving the company if it is found to have a problematic gender pay gap
- 36% of respondents felt that the issues arising from pay gap reporting could be more toxic than corporate tax avoidance
- Most worryingly, a significant 84% of professionals think that the issue will bring reputational damage to businesses.
Bibi Hilton, who is the MD of Golin, commented on the research, “The organisations who will suffer the worst damage to their brand will be those who do nothing and leave people in the dark”.
Business owners who have a broad pay gap and no plans to reduce it, or refuse to publish their report altogether, will be investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
How you can close the Gender Pay Gap in your Company
- Remove gender bias from the workplace.
Stereotyping can be devastating when it occurs in the workplace, as it often puts the affected individuals at a disadvantage and potentially leaves them with unequal career opportunities.
Asking female applicants interview questions about their family life or plans for having future children is unlawful, and this is a common example of how a gender bias can start during the early stages of employment.
You must make it clear to all employees that comments of a sexist or derogatory nature, no matter how ‘light-hearted’ they may be, will not be tolerated.
Strive for a supportive and united workforce where everyone is respected equally.
- Equal opportunities for mentoring, promotions and training.
You must ensure that internal vacancies, as well as possibilities to become a mentor and mentee, are readily advertised to all members of staff.
CMI research has proven that male employees are more likely to be promoted than female employees are, with 47% of men progressing into a higher role after being in a company for five years.
This percentage stands at only 39% for women who have worked in the same company for the same period of time.
- Consider the flexibility of employee working hours.
You should look into how you can help reduce the childcare responsibilities of your female employees, ultimately ensuring that motherhood does not thwart their careers.
Encouraging fathers to take more parental leave is an example of one effective measure, as well as subsidising childcare payments for mothers.
By helping new mothers meet the steep cost of childcare assistance, they will be able to return to work sooner rather than take longer leave caring for the child themselves.
- Assess your recruitment process.
Where and how do you advertise job vacancies within your company? Is there any way that your recruitment process could be altered to target more potential female candidates/ attract more female candidates?
Professional services KPMG has launched an ambitious campaign aimed at getting more women to opt for careers in the technology industry.
Roles within the STEM industry (science, technology, engineering and maths) have long been dominated by men, and KMPG is working towards fixing this inequality issue with the ‘IT’s her Future’ campaign.
“In 2016, women made up a mere 18% of professionals in the tech industry, even though women currently make up nearly half of the UK workforce” commented the head of management consulting at KPMG, Nigel Slater.
The Benefits of a more Gender Diverse workplace
A report carried out in the U.S by Gallup revealed evidence that employees working for a female manager were found to be more engaged (more productive and committed to the values and goals of the company) than those working under a male manager.
35% of female employees working with a female manager showed clearer signs of engagement, compared to 25% of male employees working with a male manager.
Alternative research carried out by business adviser McKinsey and Company have found that closing the gender pay gap by 2025 could, in fact, boost the UK economy by a significant £150bn. If the pay gap was removed in every country, this could increase the annual global GDP by $12 trillion within the same time frame.