9 February 2019

The Gender Pay Gap – What’s next?

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It's almost a year since employers were required to disclose their gender pay gap. With updated figures published soon, what is expected this time around?

On the 4th April last year, all companies in the UK with over 250 employees had to report their Gender Pay Gap. Now, with the one-year anniversary getting closer, and employers required to publish updated stats, employees and candidates want to know what progress has been made towards closing it.

Since the legislation came in, 100% of the organisations (over 10,000) impacted have published their Gender Pay Gap data. The results showed pretty quickly what we all knew already – the pay gap is there, and it’s not small. In fact, it stands at nearly 18% nationally, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics.

As we all know, finding the right people isn’t always easy. And if your organisation has a gender pay gap – and doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it – you might find it gets even harder. 92% of women are using the pay gap data to choose between two potential employers, so it’s not something to be ignored!

 

What impact has the Gender Pay Gap had so far?

The good news is that the Gender Pay Gap conversation has been pushed up the agenda, leading to some lively debates and a greater focus at senior levels on the issue. According to a report by IPPR, there’s been a sustained increase in mentions across media and in parliament, which is really good news.

The new regulations are also encouraging organisations to look at the reasons behind the Gender Pay Gap…because the numbers aren’t always as black and white as they seem.

For example, TSB’s Gender Pay Gap is 31%. But 29% of their employees work part-time and 95% of these are women. Because the Gender Pay Gap figure is a medium figure, it’s also impacted by the number of women in leadership roles. Addressing these issues is so important in forging change.

But companies are already starting to act. According to the report mentioned above, four out of five organisations have considered – or are already implementing – actions to narrow the gap.

 

What can companies do to close the Gender Pay Gap?

Start with recruitment

The easiest and most common action organisations can take is to change their recruitment processes to minimise gender bias. By changing job descriptions, person specifications, and ensuring gender balanced shortlists, more women can enter the workforce – which will help to close that overall gap.

Launch women in leadership initiatives

Getting more women into senior leadership roles is vitally important to close the gap. How is your company addressing this? Think about mentorship schemes for women, internal women’s business networks, and offering leadership training to skill women up to take on more senior roles.

Encourage paternity leave/flexible working for men

A huge amount of the UK’s part-time workforce is female, which as we could see from the TSB figures, can skew figures significantly. Companies need to encourage men to take advantage of the shared paternity leave offered in the UK and take a more flexible approach to work/life balance.

Fujitsu – a case study:

The best approach for dealing with the Gender Pay Gap is to be transparent, action-orientated, and honest. Fujitsu is such a good example of this. Their pay gap was 17.9% – less than the UK average and less than the 25% pay gap average reported for the technology sector. They’ve publicly published the reasons behind the gap – and importantly, what action they are taking to close it.

The 10 key influencers of Fujitsu’s gender pay gap:
  1. More men than women work at Fujitsu UK
  2. There are more men in senior roles which attract higher salaries
  3. The timing of bonus payments has an influence
  4. More men work in sales which attract higher bonus payments
  5. Older, senior men are taking advantage of flexible working as they approach retirement
  6. Younger, junior women are taking advantage of flexible working to support work-life balance
  7. Fujitsu has made several acquisitions in the past meaning employees are TUPED into the business, resulting in a legacy of historic pay scales
  8. More men than women have in the past been TUPED into Fujitsu
  9. The tech industry has in the past attracted more men than women giving us a legacy of more senior males with longer service
  10. Women are put off from applying for senior roles

 

The 10 actions Fujitsu is taking to close the gender pay gap:
  1. Creating a balanced talent pipeline of graduates at a 50:50 gender profile
  2. Managing the pay process, removing individually negotiated pay increases
  3. Demanding 50:50 shortlists for all new recruitment hires
  4. Supporting a new Recruitment for Success programme
  5. Mandatory unconscious bias training for all managers
  6. Ensuring gender-neutral job adverts
  7. Enabling a Women’s Business Network
  8. Finding and supporting role models within the business – and proactively approaching talented females and encouraging them to apply for senior roles
  9. Sponsors programme to help develop female talent
  10. Anonymous exit interviews online to establish why women may leave

It will be interesting to see how their pay gap changes over time, but it’s fantastic to see a company take such a proactive and holistic approach to the challenge.

 

The Pennon story

Pennon, one of the largest environmental infrastructure groups in the UK, Pennon has a workforce of around 5,000 people with varying roles, education levels and native languages, it was critical that their report communicated their position to employees in a clear and transparent way.

We were asked to help them achieve this so we set about creating a short, sharp and easily digestible report. It had to be visually strong, with jargon-free copy and use the Pennon brand to bring in elements from the new vision and values. We needed a creative approach to communicate the message that Pennon employees can expect to be treated fairly, regardless of their gender, race or background.

The report for Pennon was very well received amongst employees for its effective communication. To add weight to this, Deloitte highlighted the report as a real stand out, citing it as a “really good disclosure – one of the best in terms of clarity and layout.”

Have a read of the report here.

Do you need help communicating Gender Pay Gap?

Well, we can help! If you need a helping hand communicating internally, controlling the external message, or perhaps just a little inspiration or knowledge we’re here for you. From toolkits to help line managers communicate effectively, and engaging video which helps contextualise your results, through to employer brand workshops evaluating the impact of the Gender Pay Gap – there’s so much that can be done.

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