We have six months to go before new UK legislation will see companies with more than 250 people having to report on the size of their gender pay gap. Companies will need to report not only on pay by gender, but also on the gender bonus gap, and most tellingly on the proportion of men and women working in each quantile of the organisation’s pay distribution.
By making salaries more transparent and more comparable, we can shine a light on just where the talent pipeline is broken, and why in particular fewer women work in senior management roles. This will highlight the gaps that need to be plugged and courses corrected, enabling more women to make a significant difference to their companies – after all, companies with greater diversity at board level have been seen to outperform those without.
While companies will have a year before they have to report in April 2018, more enlightened employers will be tackling the issues now - identifying and understanding their gaps, putting an action plan in place to address key issues.
From companies we have spoken to, we understand that major gaps will be seen at senior level, where the solution is to offer part-time work to experienced women who are ready to come back to work after children, balance work with family life and make a contribution on results rather than effort.
Here’s an opportunity to get ahead of the game in the fight to get the best and brightest candidates to fill roles right across their companies.
So how did we end up here?
Paying women less than men for exactly the same role isn’t the point. Where men may want more money, women may need to give more value to flexibility, leaving, as Anne-Marie Slaughter has identified, the ‘care penalty’ as the main driver of gender inequality.
Women’s pay is a good 95% match to men’s until you add caring, and therefore part-time hours into the mix. That’s when the inherent assumptions kick in – you may be given worse projects, you can’t or won’t travel, you can’t work longer hours; this all leads to fewer opportunities and a hard drop in value.
We can all fall for the gender differences and bias that we find in history, with cultural and social causes, and be affected by them either consciously or unconsciously. Girls might be led by parents and teachers into particular careers seen as traditional, female-dominated low-paying occupations; lack of affordable childcare prevents many women working after children, and they are still the main takers of ‘shared parental leave’.
Lack of equal pay implies a difference in value between men and women’s work, undermining confidence and punting a society-wide belief that men’s work is more valuable. Women may not be as ready as men to bargain on salary or flexibility:
“The gender pay gap is not all down to the Institutions – women are notoriously bad at negotiating for their salaries. If you know that your Limiting Beliefs hold you back in pay reviews, get yourself into the right mindset – be firm, fair and believe in your worth. And if you find it difficult to stand up for yourself, remember that, like a man in the family, you are also a ‘provider’- your salary counts and is not just a nice to have. It also helps to think of negotiating on your children's behalf, not just yourself. Women are much better at fighting other people’s corners!” Cara Moore, women’s career coach and champion, www.caramoore.co.uk
Let’s kick out the bias and embrace a new business mindset, where everyone gets valued on their output rather than the hours they work – that way we all get to reach our full potential.
Demanding more transparency from businesses will leave no place for workplace gender inequality to hide. In today’s changing work climate it is well overdue that we explode the myths and blitz the motherhood penalty.
What can we do now?
The time for quiet acceptance of these double standards is over. The World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Pay Gap Report showed that the gap will reduce organically – in about 170 years.
We can’t afford to wait that long – and we shouldn’t have to. And as addressing the gender pay gap could add £150bn to the UK economy by 2025, none of us can afford to wait either.
We need to take action now to close the gap:
- Equalise leave entitlements
- Enable men to do more caring and normalise their involvement
- Advertise all jobs as flexible unless there is a good business reason not to
- Get women into higher paid roles
What is stopping you promoting flexibility?
If you don’t want to miss out on potentially the best candidates, if you want to see how increased diversity from the top down can improve your business results, as an employer you need to start addressing this now.
If gender pay gap reporting will highlight particular gaps in your organisation, areas where your talent pipeline is not working as it should be, then take a look at our range of very strong candidates. We have some fabulous talent on our books at 2to3days across a range of industries and at all levels of experience.
Don’t risk being named and shamed – seize this positive opportunity to put your company ahead of the wave, gain competitive advantage and score the best and brightest candidates before your competitors do.
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